Wine Word of the Week: Fermentation

By Kori ~ October 30th, 2008.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is fermentation.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Fermentation, as it applies to wine, is the process of converting sugar to ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and carbon dioxide effected by the anaerobic (oxygen-free) metabolism of yeast. It comes from the Latin word fervere, to boil; any mass containing sugar that has been infused with yeast certainly looks as though it is boiling, as it exudes carbon dioxide bubbles.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Fermentation is the second step in the winemaking process in which grape sugars are converted to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Fermentation occurs naturally when yeast comes into contact with the sugars in the grape juice that were released during crushing.

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