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Glossary

Brix: (°bx) Relative density scale used in sugar and winemaking industry, it indicates the percent of cane sugar (sucrose) by weight (grams per 100 milliliter of water) in a solution or juice of unfermented grapes in degrees Brix (°Bx). The most commonly used refractrometer scale for measuring solids dissolved in water, it corresponds directly to the refractive index scale. One °Bx equals one percent and, in winemaking, the alcohol concentration of the finished wine is estimated to be 0.55 times the °Bx of the grape juice. Named after the 19th century Austrian scientist Adolf Brix who invented a hydrometer that reads directly the percentage of sugar at a specified temperature.

Carbonic Maceration: When you use carbonic maceration, you don’t start by breaking up the grapes. Instead, you are very careful to put the whole grapes into a vat along with a layer of carbon dioxide – so that yeast can’t start up easily. Instead, what happens is that the inside of the grape starts to ferment, within the skin. This kind of fermentation creates ethanol as well as various appealing aroma components. After a few weeks, the wine is continued as usual. The result is a wine that is less tannic, less acidic, and more light and fruity. This creates a wine which is great for immediate drinking, but is incapable of aging for any length of time. Because of its inability to age, this kind of wine is also not a good one for keeping long after it has been opened – be prepared to drink it that day or soon thereafter.

Delestage: Meaning a specific fermentation management process for red wine. It is also known as “rack and return.” Originally aimed at shortening the time for red wine to reach the market, delestage certainly moves the wine in the right direction, but not all the way. However, extended maceration, also aiming at faster maturity, could work with delestage and standard fermentation manipulations to achieve not only a wine ready for market early, but with high quality and aging potential.

Fermentation: The chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat. The process of this kind involved in the making of beer, wine, and liquor, in which sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol.

Garagiste: A passionate winemaker who creates fine limited production wine.

Lees: The heavy, coarse sediment that accumulates during fermentation and aging. Lees primarily consists of dead yeast cells and small grape particles that fall to the bottom of the fermentation tank or barrel. In most cases, this sediment is separated from the wine through racking. Sometimes the wine is left in contact with the lees in an attempt to develop more flavor.

Saignée: A method of rosé production that involves bleeding off the juice after limited contact with the skins. Pronounced ’sonyay’. In shory saignée is one of the methods of making rosé wines, along with blending white and red wine (this is the method used to for rosé Champagne), along with a simply macerating (allowing contact with skins to leech out color and flavor) the wine with the skins for a short period of time. The difference between simply macerating the wine and removing the must and saigneé is that the wine left after the bleed-off is oftentimes still being made into a more concentrated red wine, and the rosé is a byproduct, often sold cheap (or was until rosé prices started to rise)

Secondary Fermentation: The process commonly associated with winemaking, which entails a second period of fermentation in a different vessel than what was used when the fermentation process first started. An examples of this would be starting fermentation in a carboy or stainless steel tank and then moving it over to oak barrels. Rather than being a separate, second fermentation this is most often one single fermentation period that is conducted in multiple vessels. However, the term does also apply to procedures that could be described as a second and distinct fermentation period.

Tannin: A natural component found to varying degrees in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes; most prominent in red wines, where it creates a dry, puckering sensation in young reds of concentrated extract; mellows with aging and drops out of the wine to form sediment; a major component in the structure of red wines.

Wine Press: A device used to extract juice from crushed grapes during wine making. There are a number of different styles of presses that are used by wine makers but their overall functionality is the same. Each style of press exerts controlled pressure in order to free the juice from the fruit (most often grapes). The pressure must be controlled, especially with grapes, in order to avoid crushing the seeds and releasing a great deal of undesirable tannins into the wine.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. June 1, 2010

    …Ah-h-h- some of my questions answered. Thanks Mr. Glossary

  2. August 3, 2010

    The definition of secondary fermentation leaves something to be desired. Typically it refers to malo-lactic fermentation (m/l, m-l, mlf, and others) which is done after/at the end of primary or alcoholic fermentation. One can find the steps to successful malo-lactic fermentation at the following link: http://www.nys-homewine.info/InfoPubsNYSHWC.html
    You can also find other good winemaking information there as well.

  3. Anthony R. Forte permalink*
    August 3, 2010

    Peter, thanks for your feedback on our glossary, as a new winemaker I might have been a bit broad in my definition, i’ll review with one of our more seasoned members and highly recognized amateur winemakers. Also thanks for the link to your site, we have referred to it many times, including one of our most recent posts attempting to help promoting your upcoming seminar. We have also included the link on our twitter account, follow us twitter.com/nywinemakers

  4. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    August 3, 2010

    Yes Peter the definition that Anthony used is often confused with MLF. There are winemakers trying to avoid to much tannin extraction will press before dry and finish as juice in containers. Some refer to this a Secondary Fermentation. But I believe that MLF is the true secondary fermentation and I do outline in Winemaking Procedures posted here of that procedure.

    http://www.westchesterwinemakers.com/2010/02/15/the-winemaking-procedure-part-6/

  5. Sandy Moscaritolo permalink
    January 28, 2011

    Include the word “Battonage” in your definition section which is the process of stirring the lees periodically back into the wine after fermentation but before racking in order to develop more flavor.

  6. Sandy Moscaritolo permalink
    January 28, 2011

    I forgot to add that I use Battonage when I make chardonnay to develop that buttery roundness and mouth feel that my wife likes in those high priced Napa Chards.

  7. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    January 28, 2011

    Thanks for posting Sandy. Buttery Chardonnay now there is a subject all on its own.

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