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South African
Wine Lab Association:

Fermentation Volume Studies for Red Wine Experimentation

A.M. Sparrow1*, R.E. Smart2

Experimental vinification is often used to evaluate changes in viticultural and oenological practices in
research trials. Microvinification procedures are used to overcome constraints that make standardised
comparisons in commercial wineries difficult. Prior to 2009, a dedicated micro-winery research facility
in northern Tasmania used conventional 12 L volume ferments that provided sufficient wine for both
sensory and chemical analysis. Since then, much smaller ferment volumes of 1.5 L and of 250 mL have been
introduced, and these provide a sufficient sample size for the chemical analysis of phenolic components in
the wine. This study reports a comparison of the phenolic attributes of Pinot Noir wines in a replicated trial
using must weights of 0.2, 1.0 and 10 kg fermented in vessels of volume 250 mL, 1.5 L and 20 L respectively.
Using the same parcel of fruit, a single larger ferment of 330 kg and a vessel volume of 780 L was conducted
concurrently. At bottling, six weeks after the end of fermentation, there was no significant difference in
the phenolic composition of the wine made from grape musts with a mass of 0.2, 1.0 or 10 kilograms in the
replicated trial, and the results were consistent with those for the 330 kg ferment size. We therefore have
confidence in using small micro-scale fermenters, which greatly enhance research capability.

Pinot Noir, microvinification, fermentation size, phenolic composition

Full article

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