Wine production



PALATE. The flavor or taste of a wine; also referred to as different sections of taste in the mouth. As the wine travels through the mouth, it first contacts the front palate, then the midpalate and finally the back palate, all which can process different tastes, such as sweet, sour and bitter.

PECTIN. Complex polysaccharides involving galacturonic acid, its methyl ester, and other sugar derivatives. They contribute to viscosity and sometimes hazes of musts and wines. Shortened and solubilized by pectinase enzymes.

PECTINOLYTIC ENZYME. Proteins used to break down and destroy pectin haze, in order to improve the clarification in wine.

PETILLANCE. Small amounts of carbon dioxide present in wine that give a light sparkle.

PERENNIAL –A plant that lives for three or more seasons. Perennials may not bloom the first season planted, especially ones that are shipped bareroot.

pH. A chemical measurement of acidity or alkalinity; the higher the pH the weaker the acid. Used by some wineries as a measurement of ripeness in relation to acidity. Low pH wines taste tart and crisp; higher pH wines are more susceptible to bacterial growth. A range of 3.0 to 3.4 is desirable for white wines, while 3.3 to 3.6 is best for reds.

PHENOLIC COMPOUNDS. Compounds found in the seeds, skins and stalks of grapes that contribute vital characteristics to the color, texture and flavour of wine. Two of the most notable phenols in wine include anthocyanins which impart color and tannins which add texture and aging potential.

PIGEAGE. Punching down of the cap of grape skins formed during fermentation to prevent drying out and encourage the release of coloring matter and tannins. It can be done either manually or mechanically.

PIPE. Cask of 534 or 550-liter capacity, used in the Douro Valley in Portugal for Port production.

POLYMERIZATION. The process of forming together small, tannin molecules into long-chain tannins. This process is encouraged during delestage and gives softer and more supple tannins.

POLYPHENOL OXIDASE (PPO). The natural browning enzyme of grapes and most other plant products. Present in juices to varying degrees.

POLYPHENOLS. Chemical compounds found in plant life. In grapes, polyphenols are responsible for skin pigment, tannins and flavors - all of which fall under the category of flavonoids - as well as resveratrol, the compound associated with many of wine's health benefits, and which falls under the much smaller polyphenol category of nonflavonoids. Pertaining to wine, grape skins, seeds and stems contain the highest concentrations of polyphenols.

POMACE. The solids (grape skins and seeds especially) left after wine or juice is drained and pressed from the whole must or young wine. Marc and press cake are essentially the same. Pronounced pumice, pomace may be sweet (unfermented) or dry (fermented) and may be the source of recoverable alcohol or other byproducts as well as a waste disposal problem.

POTASSIUM BITARTRATE. The substance of most tartrate crystals. Also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, cream of tartar.

PRECIPITATE. A solid that has been thrown out of solution.

PRESS JUICE/WINE. The juice extracted under pressure after pressing for white wines and after fermentation for reds. Press wine has more flavor and aroma, deeper color and often more tannins than free-run juice. Wineries often blend a portion of press wine back into the main cuvee for added backbone.

PRESSING. Process in winemaking in which the juice is pressed from the skins and other solid matter of the grapes.

PROTEINS. Complex substances built up from amino acids. An important component of living tissue.

PROTEIN HAZE. Condition in wine where heat denatures unstable proteins and produces a haze in the wine. Commonly avoided with the use of a fining agent, such as bentonite, to remove the proteins.

PUMPING-OVER. See Remontage.

PVPP. Polyvinylpolypyrrolidone, a manufactured polymer (plastic). It is a gentle fining agent that removes phenolic compounds from wine.

PYRAZINES. Chemical compounds that give green, peppery aromas and a herbaceous character in some wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are two of the grape varieties that can demonstrate these characteristics, both in aroma and on the palate.