Topic of the Week 5/17/2019 - Advanced

Odes to the old vines last post by  and . Great reference to the excellent article written by !

This week: Fermentation temperature 

What are the typical ranges for white wines? What about red? What purpose does each range serve?

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  • This is a juicy topic! 

    I'm many ways S. cerevisiae are a lot like us in terms of temperature preference. That being said, different yeast strains vary in their optimal temperature range. I like to think of this again as people, some people can't stand cold (me) while others live for it (crazy people). 

    These days, winemakers have a great deal of control in regards to temperature which is one of the most influential aspects of fermentation.

    In general, cooler temperatures around 10-20 ºC bring about a fresh and fruity result as is preferred for many white wine styles. This range can also prolong a fermentation building complexity and increasing fruity esters and flavors. Too cold however and the fermentation may slow to a stop.

    In red wines, temperatures between 24 and 27 ºC are generally considered standard (Jackson). If a wine is fermenting on its skins, as in red wine production, a higher temperature can aid in extracting flavor from these skins. Another thing to consider is the vessel in which the must is fermenting. The larger the vessel, the higher potential temperature increase once fermentation commences. Get a ferment too high and yeast will become stressed producing reductive and off flavors.