Carbonic Maceration

by Cindy Barnett | June 05, 2012

Carbonic Maceration is a technique used for fermenting uncrushed grapes under pressure to produce fresh and fruity wine. The process is sometimes referred to as “whole grape fermentation”.

Uncrushed, whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide container. Fermentation begins within the individual grapes, trapping the forming bubbles of carbon dioxide until the grape bursts. Juice is fermented while it is still inside the grape. The resulting wine has a lighter, yet brighter color and a fruity aroma. The wine is lower in tannins, less acidic, and more light and fruity. This creates a wine which is great for immediate drinking, but is not capable of aging for any length of time.

This process is used for many red wine styles, but is most famous for its use on Beaujolais. This process is normally not done with white grapes.

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