Natural Wine Vinification Techniques

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When we were in France last January, we took some time to chat with Olivier Cousin about the different types of maceration he uses. When we shot this video, Olivier’s grapes had been fermenting for about 3-4 months. The great thing about all forms of carbonic maceration, for a natural winemaker, is that it works very well when you don’t want to add any sulfur. The grapes remain whole, fermenting internally, so there’s less contact with air, which could introduce undesirable elements into the wine. As the grapes begin to burst, carbon dioxide is released, blanketing the juice, providing even more protection from oxygen. And, as Olivier explains, the temperature of the juice will often remain below the danger zone where bacteria can develop. Here’s some video we shot of Olivier explaining the differences between the three main forms of maceration–traditional, carbonic, and semi-carbonic:

(Be forewarned, this video contains extreme elements of wine geekery and is likely to result in heated debates on theories of winemaking!)