By Kori ~ October 11th, 2011.
This weekâ€™s Wine Word of the Week is punching down.
Official definition from Jancis Robinsonâ€™s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Punching down is the winemaking operation of breaking up and submerging the cap of skins and other solids during red wine fermentation to stop the cap from drying out, to encourage the extraction of color and tannins, and to encourage useful aeration in the making of a deeply colored red wine. â€¦. It is usually done between one and three times a day depending on the fermentation rate.
Laymanâ€™s terms from Kori:
Punching down is the process of breaking up the cap during red wine fermentation. In order for color, tannins, and other flavor compounds to be extracted from the skins, the skins have to be in the juice, not on top of it.
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