Intracellular Fermentation

by Staff Writer - B. Shaughnessy | June 14, 2012

Intracellular fermentation is a fermentation process that occurs when enzymes found inside grapes attack sugars. The end result of intracellular fermentation is the production of alcohol in an environment absent of yeasts.

Intracellular fermentation will occur only after a grape bunch has been harvested, and is promoted by the carbonic maceration process. In the carbonic maceration process, undamaged grape bunches are placed in an oxygen free vat. The undamaged grape bunches are left to stand for five to fifteen days. During this time the lack of oxygen allows the grapes to undergo metabolic changes. Enzymes present within the grape work on converting sugar into alcohol. The enzymes utilize the same biochemical processes as yeasts for the production of alcohol. Typically, intracellular fermentation is utilized to produce approximately 3% of alcohol. After this, normal extracellular fermentation processes are utilized to convert remaining sugars into alcohol.

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