Wine Production



EARTHY. Describes wines with aromas or flavors of soil or earth. In small amounts the aromas or flavors can add complexity and be positive characteristics, but become negative as the intensity increases. Frequently associated withPinot Noir.

EGG WHITE (EGG ALBUMEN). A solution of egg whites can be used to remove phenolic compounds associated with harsh astringency in red wines, as the protein binds with the larger polymeric material in the wine.

EGRAPOIR. Machine that removes stalks from grapes, following which they may be crushed.

ELEMENT. A substance that cannot be decomposed into simpler substances by chemical means.

ELEVAGE. The 'rearing' or maturing of wines before bottling.

ENOLOGY. The science and technology of making and processing wine in all of its complexity. The original spelling was oenology.

ENRICHMENT. The addition of sugar to grape must to increase the alcoholic strength of a wine after fermentation.

ENZYME. Any of numerous protein molecules produced by living organisms (including yeast) and functioning as catalysts in biochemical reactions. Despite their derivation from living materials, are not living organisms themselves. Enzymes emerge intact from the catalytic reactions they produce and are denatured (rendered inactive) by pH extremes and high temperatures. Usually, an enzyme acts only on a specific molecule (substrate), so an enzyme that acts upon pectin will not act upon starch. In winemaking, most of the essential enzymes are produced by yeast, but some are not and must be introduced by the winemaker.

ESTATE BOTTLING. Various wordings and legal nuances are involved, but the intent is to indicate that the grapes were produced by or at minimum under the specific control of the ownership of the bottling winery.

ESTERS. A compound resulting from a reaction between acid and alcohol. Their presence in wine can give a smell of pear drops or bananas.

ETHANOL. Alcohol in wine and other alcoholic drinks, also known as ethyl alcohol.

ETHYL ACETATE. A sweet, vinegary smell that often accompanies acetic acid. It exists to some extent in all wines and in small doses can be a plus. When it is strong and smells like nail polish, it;s a defect.

EXTRACTION. The process by which pigment, tannins and flavor and aromatic compounds contained in grape skins are dissolved into wine. Extraction is most commonly achieved through maceration (soaking the skins of the crushed grapes in the wine after fermentation), during which alcohol helps dissolve flavor, aroma and especially tannin molecules - as with a steeping tea bag, the longer and warmer the maceration, the greater the degree of extraction. During fermentation, punching down the cap (floating layer of skins, seeds and stems) and pumping liquid from the bottom of the tank over the cap (pump-over) are other methods of extraction. For reds made in lighter-bodied styles such as Pinot Noir, a pre-fermentation cold soak of the skins in the grape juice can extract water-soluble flavor and pigment molecules while limiting the amount of more alcohol-soluble tannins released into the wine.