Technique

Wine Grape Cold Soaking Success

If you have ever researched how to make Pinot Noir, you have no doubt come across the term “pre-fermentation cold maceration” or simply “cold soak.” Although a cold soak is used on other grape varietals, lowering the temperatures prior to fermentation is primarily done to coax more color out of Pinot Noir, which tends to be a bit color shy. Cold soaking has its followers and detractors, however. One camp of winemakers believe that wines made utilizing a cold soak are more complex and fruit-forward, and exhibit improved color retention. By soaking their grapes at lowered temperatures for a period of time, they can extract anthocyanins (color), aromatics, supple tannins, improved mouthfeel, and flavor compounds more effectively than is thought to be possible with conventional methods. The opposing camp of winemakers feel that this whole process is not necessary and does nothing but increase the possibility of spoilage, and produce short-lived effects that don’t last long enough to make it into the bottle. These winemakers prefer to use maceration enzymes, pump-overs, heat, and alcohol to get their desired result. While