|Course ID||Course Name||Instructor||Room Number||Time|
|062||White Wine Production|
How is white wine made?
White wine is in general made from white grapes. One of the most well-known exceptions is in Champagne where white still wines are made from black Pinot Noir grapes.
Harvest / Crush
White grapes are picked and transported as quickly as possible to crushing. The aim is to minimize skin breakage, color bleeding and tannin from going into the juice. Oxidation is a much greater risk in white wine production as there is less anti-oxidative protection from grapes’ own polyphenols. Juice is drawn off quickly and proceeds to fermentation.
Interesting to note though, some regions have a tradition of allowing some skin contact prior to fermentation at low temperature to impart more flavors and texture, and a hint of orange color: Slovenia and Friuli, for example.
Fermentation usually takes place at a lower temperature than red wine at around 15°C-20°C. The goal of using lower temperature is to maintain more freshness and fruity character.
Lees (slurry of dead yeast from fermentation) may be allowed to remain in contact with the wine or stirred up regularly to impart extra complexity and creaminess on palate.
Common fermentation vessels are the same as for red wine production including stainless steel tanks, wood barrels, and concrete vats.
In white wine production, malolactic fermentation is optional. Some winemakers allow it as it produces a softer and creamier wine with marked notes of buttery aroma. Yet some may choose to avoid it to maintain a fresher and crisper wine by adding more sulphur dioxide or lowering temperature.
Once fermentation is completed, the wine is then racked to clean vats or tanks.
Blending / Maturation
Blending of different grape varieties and different plots may take place before or after ageing. Most of the fresh styles of white wine that are meant for early drinking do not undergo further ageing. They are bottled young and released as quickly as possible for optimal aromatics and freshness. Nonetheless, some white wines are aged in oak barrels and gain more nutty and creamy flavors.
Clarification / Bottling
Finished wines may go through fining and/or filtering for further clarification before bottling. Wines that have undergone extended ageing and racking regimen may appear quite clear. Some winemakers may skip these steps.
Further bottle ageing is less common for white wines. But plenty of great white wines such as barrel-aged white Graves, Grand Cru White Burgundy and White Rioja, as examples, benefit from further bottle ageing prior to release.
Through a special arrangement with one of our suppliers, we are able to offer this item without storing it in our own cellar. Please allow the extra time to recieve the quality product that you expect from City Wine Cellar.
John Ha - President