Wine Words Demystified: Fermentation

You know the deal; the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus – Wine Words Demystified!

This week’s word/phrase is Fermentation

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

 The process during grape fermentation whereby yeasts convert the natural sugar in the grapes to ALCOHOL and CARBON DIOXIDE.  The alcohol will remain a constituent  of the wine that results, but in most cases the carbon dioxide will be allowed to escape as a by-product. 

In other words, it’s how grapes juice gets turned into wine. Essentially yeast, either naturally occurring in the vineyards and the grapes themselves, or cultured yeasts, interact with the sugars present in the grape juice and consume the sugar.  The byproduct of that consumption is ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Image of Cabernet Sauvignon must interacting w...
Image of Cabernet Sauvignon must interacting with the skin during fermentation in the maceration process. Photo taken at Mountain Homebrew in Kirkland, WA on October 14th, 2007 with a Kodak z650 camera Category:Wine-related images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)