Technique

Bulk Wine Aging

There is more to cellaring bulk wine than meets the eye. Home winemakers heave a sigh of relief when the last of the harvest processing is done, but the job is not over. The wine is put away in carboys, demijohns, tanks, or barrels and we hope it stays safe through the winter and spring. But as eminent wine scientist Yair Margalit says in Concepts in Wine Chemistry, “As a food product, wine is very susceptible to various chemical and microbial spoilages.” He makes the reassuring note that the spoilage will not make the wine unsafe to drink, only unpleasant. Since the unpleasantness can extend to the point of being undrinkable, it is something we all need to keep an eye on all the time. As Margalit points out, wine spoilages generally represent chemical or microbial faults. They can be classified in a variety of ways. One classification concerns their point of origin in the wine production process and we are limiting ourselves today to those that come about after the wine is fermented and before it is bottled: Bulk