Wine Vinting Questions and Answers
1 Q How are wine grapes harvested & delivered to the winery ?
A We harvest by machine. The harvester picks and delivers the grapes into gondolas which are then hauled to the winery. Each
gondola carries approximately 5 to 6 tons of grapes.
2 Q What is brix and how is it related to the wine alcohol content ?
A Brix is the measure of total solids present in a volume. It’s expressed in percentage and this measure is assumed as the
potential sugar content of the grape juice. For example, 23% brix is assumed to be approximately 230g/l of sugar. The brix is
then used to predict the alcohol content of the wine that we will obtain: 1 brix converts (fermentation) to approximately 0.6%
3 Q What is the alcoholic fermentation ?
A The alcoholic fermentation (usually simply called fermentation) is the main important step in the winemaking process: it is the
transformation of the sugar (juice) into alcohol (wine). This transformation is promoted by specific yeast strains, naturally
present in the atmosphere as well as in the cellar/winery environment. The same yeast strains are also available in the
commercial market specifically produced for the winemaking industry. The fermentation has to be in a range of 60 to 90F:
lower for the whites and higher for the reds.
4 Q What is the maceration ?
A The maceration in the winemaking process consists in having crushed or partially crushed berries immerged in their own juice.
This technique is mandatory to produce red wines as they are made from the components (color and tannins) of the skin. For red
wines, maceration and fermentation happen simultaneously.
5 Q How many types of maceration/fermentation techniques are available for red grape varieties ?
A – Rotary technique: a horizontal tank rotates on itself and at every turn the juice goes on top of the floating skins.
– Punch down technique: a piston with paddles mounted on top of the tank presses the floating skins down, allowing the juice to
– Pump over technique: a pump mounted at the bottom of the tank delivers the juice on top of the floating skins.
– Carbonic maceration technique: uncrushed berries are delivered into the tank and the little fermenting juice at the bottom of
the tank creates an intracellular partial fermentation inside the berry. This technique requires you to complete the fermentation
at a later time.
– Cold soak: the berries are kept in contact with their own juice at a very low temp (40 F) to prevent the fermentation to start
while extracting all the color/aromas. Once the max extraction is reached, the temperature is gradually raised to start the
6 Q How many types of maceration/fermentation procedures are available for white grape varieties ?
A The only maceration currently used is the cold soak or skin contact at low temperature.
7 Q What is grape’s must ?
A Must is used more in scientific literature to define juice after the grape has been pressed but not fermented (grape juice).
8 Q When is wine status achieved ?
A When the must juice natural brix is converted into at least 7% alcohol. If below 7%, it cannot be considered wine.
9 Q When does the wine become drinkable ?
A The shortest cycle, to meet the earliest commerce to public, is approximately 60 days from harvest. However, this happens