Wine Word Wednesday: Fermentation

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Fermentation is “the process in which sugar is transformed into alcohol.More specifically, how grape juice interacts with yeast to become wine.

When grapes are ripe they are filled with naturally occurring sugars and have wild yeasts on their skins. All that is needed to start the fermentation process is for those yeasts to come into contact with the sugars.  This happens by gently breaking the skin, or crushing the grapes. This always makes me think of the “I love Lucy” episode where they are crushing the grapes with their feet. Now a days there are many high tech machines used to extract the juice out of the grapes, like wine bladders that expand air inside a tank to press the juice!  The fermentation process can be manipulated by temperature control, the addition of non naturally occurring yeasts, and also by the tank the wine is processed in. This is where you will hear about oak or steel tanks. Yay science!