How are white wines made?

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The generally lighter and fresher taste of white wines comes from a vinification process different from red wines.

Image provided by BIVB / GESVRES J.

When grapes first arrive at the winery, they will be crushed to allow the juice to run out. When making white wines, grapes are pressed immediately, so that the clear juice is separated from the skins, pips and stems before fermentation. For red wines, the must and skins are kept in contact during fermentation, so as to extract tannins and colour.

In recent years, in order to extract more aromas, flavour and tannin, some wine makers may choose to leave the juice in contact with the skins for a very short period (up to 48 hours) before pressing.

The free-run juice and the pressed juice are then pumped to fermentation vats or casks. White wine fermentation takes place at between 12℃ -22℃, or even as low as 9 ℃, while red wines are fermented at about 20℃ and sometimes can go up as high as 32℃. This way richer flavour and aromas can be extracted without losing freshness, producing wines with lighter body and lower tannins.

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