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Winter in the Winery - Part Two: Cellar

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

In the last blog post, you learned that winter is by no means a boring time at a winery. In the vineyard, pruning is on the agenda, a huge workload for the winegrowers and the basis for future wine quality. But there are also important decisions to be made in the cellar during the winter!

This starts directly after autumn: After the grape harvest, the focus is first on fermentation. This is an intensive period during which the winegrowers constantly check their tanks and barrels - above all, they keep an eye on the temperatures. If they are too high, the wine ferments too quickly and valuable aroma is lost. If it gets too cool, fermentation stalls. Once the yeasts have done their work, it remains exciting for the winemakers: slowly the character of the young wines becomes apparent and, if necessary, they can be given a push in the right direction. It all comes down to making the right decisions: Which wine is aged in oak barrels? Does yeast contact do the wines good to gain more structure? Or is it already time for racking, the separation of yeast and wine? And which barrels are suitable for malolactic fermentation (MLF), in which the hard malic acid is broken down into milder lactic acid? What the winemaker does - or does not do - in the cellar in winter has a great influence on the future taste! Where the market demands it, the first wines are already being bottled - for example, fresh, light-footed rosés that are eager to land in the glasses in spring at the latest.

Does all this sound exciting to you? But what exactly is involved in wood ageing, yeast storage, MLF and the like would interest you in detail? And above all: how does it taste in the end? Then you are in perfect hands in our courses - already in the WSET Level 2 course you will learn a lot about cellar management decisions and in WSET Level 3, there are even more details.

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