Fermentation is every wine lover’s best friend, because it’s the process by which grape juice is turned into wine. Fermentation occurs after the grapes have been picked and crushed, and it converts the sugar in the juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Depending on the varietal, there are a few different techniques a winemaker can use during fermentation to achieve their desired style — such as adding different types of yeasts to bring out different characters in the wine (or allowing ‘wild’ or ‘natural’ yeasts from the atmosphere to do the job) or using various plunging or ‘punch-down’ regimes to enhance the extraction of colours and flavours.
The vessel fermentation happens inside is also important to how the wine turns out. Stainless steel tanks (which are super common in modern-day winemaking) impart cleaner, fresher characteristics; wooden barrels or vats (barrel fermentation) produce the oak-related notes you’re likely familiar with; and secondary fermentation (which happens inside the bottle) creates the bubbles we all love in sparkling wine.
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