Odes to the old vines last post by Greg B. Carlstrom, Darla Hoffmann, Jeremy Eubanks, CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS and Robert Gomez. Great reference to the excellent article written by Kelli White!
This week: Fermentation temperature
What are the typical ranges for white wines? What about red? What purpose does each range serve?
White wine range 50 - 68 F
Reds wine range 77 - 86 F
There is obviously some variation based on winemaker choices, but the hard lines are 50 and 113 F. Below 50 F and the yeast will work too slowly or not at all, and above 113 F yeasts die.
The temperatures used for white wines tend to preserve varietal aromas, prevent oxidation and inhibit malolactic fermentation (if desired for more aromatic and lighter bodied whites.)
The range for reds helps facilitate extraction of color, flavor compounds and tannins from the skins while still retaining some fruit aromas.
However, it is important to note that temperature is just one small factor in fermentation, and all of its effects can be affected by vessel shape and composition, time of fermentation and any type of physical agitation, i.e... pigeage, remontage.