I have a confession to make. When I started the A to Z of wine I didn’t think it through entirely and right now all I am left with is all the awkward letters like U,X, Z…
So I have decided to do an extended series on the letter W.
Entitled: The Winemaking Diaries, because there is plenty to say when it comes to this arena.
The first, and frankly most obvious thing to talk about when it comes to winemaking is fermentation. This process is fundamental to wine actually becoming wine.
So what is it?
Yeast + Sugar = Alcohol + CO2 (+ heat)
Let me explain, yeast is a living organism and its favourite food is sugar. So when it’s put into a massive vat full of sweet, luscious grape juice it goes into overdrive and starts gobbling down as much sugar as it possibly can. In fact, it will gorge itself until there is practically no sugar left at all unless you intervene; hence you get a dry wine.
The by-products of the yeast eating the sugar are alcohol – the most important thing we are looking for when making wine, and CO2 which is essential when making sparkling wines.
So that’s it, alcoholic fermentation all wrapped up.