Wine Word of the Week: Carbonic maceration

By Kori ~ March 6th, 2010.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is carbonic maceration.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Carbonic maceration is a red wine-making process which transforms a small amount of sugar in grapes which are uncrushed into ethanol, without the intervention of yeasts. It is used typically to produce light-bodied, brightly coloured, fruity red wines for early consumption, most famously but by no means exclusively in the Beaujolais region of France.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Carbonic maceration, also known as whole-berry fermentation, is the process that places whole grape clusters in an oxygen-free environment to break down the grape sugars to create alcohol without adding yeast.

Filed under: Wine Word of the Week

Reader's Comments

  1. Beaujolais Nouveau: Not Yet Arrived, But On Its Way | Vintner's Circle Winemaking Shops | August 29th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    […] grapes for Beaujolais Nouveau go through a speeded-up crushing and fermentation process (known as carbonic maceration, aka whole berry fermentation). Most red wines are bottled a year or more after grapes have been […]