Chapter 3

Pre-Fermentation Treatments

(book excerpts)

There are many pre-fermentation treatments available to the winemaker for maintaining, increasing and, if necessary, correcting juice and must quality. These treatments can either occur during destemming and crushing, during pressing and clarification, or after these aforementioned processes just before fermentation. Some juice and must treatments are often necessary for making quality wines such as acidity adjustment, nutrient addition, and the use of sulfur dioxide as an antioxidant and antimicrobial agent while other treatments are based on the wine style and the stylistic goals of the winemaker. Some winemakers use a wide range of treatments to reach their goals; others choose to be very hands-off. Specific philosophies determine the range of options considered, how and when to use specific treatments, and the level of intervention to choose. Winemakers, like artists, follow different ideologies and these core competencies are indeed reflected in the wine. There are often quite different approaches between regions and even countries when treating juice and must. An interesting principle that has been noticed from experience is that any adjustments that are felt necessary are best made to the juice and must before fermentation, rather than to the finished wine. It would appear that the process of fermentation helps the adjustments to marry more thoroughly, resulting in a wine that is more harmonious. The treatment of musts and clarified juices prior to fermentation will often include one or more of the following actions:

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