Ask Sid: Different fermentation temperatures for red wine

January 3rd, 2018
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red wine fermentation temperature

Question: On my winery visits the winemakers often specify the temperature at which their red wines are fermented. What difference does it make?

Answer: Very good technical subjective issue which will be hard for me to answer fully in this forum. Yeasts (and whether they are cultured or native) are an important factor but generally red wines are fermented in a range of 25-35 Celsius (77-95+ F) with optimum yeast multiplication at the lower end but usually more colour and tannin extraction at the higher end. However if the temperature goes way too high it will slow down the fermentation by killing off the various yeasts. Francois Faiveley in Burgundy always told me he wanted to keep his temperatures just below 30 to retain more aromas that could escape from too high a temperature ferment. It is a learned art or very skilled craft to have your fermentation at the perfect temperature to maximize the key elements you want in the resulting wine. Interesting subject!

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January 3rd, 2018

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