Wine Fermentation: Why is Aging a Vital Process in Winemaking?

Aging of wine consists of non-oxidative and oxidative processes that help the wine develop its full flavour and other desirable characteristics. Most wines benefit from aging during the bulk storage and bottle stages of winemaking. It always is important to know the maximum amount of time your specific wine needs to age to bring out the best in it. Too little aging and the quality will not be satisfactory while too much aging can make the quality of the wine start to decline.

Benefits of Aging in Barrels Prior to Bottling

Aging the wine in barrels prior to bottling helps the wine absorb the flavour from the oak barrels. Some winemakers use oak chips and other types of containers for this stage but can often reach the same results. Some of the white wine and all of the red wines benefit from oak aging as far as their tannin levels and flavour profiles. Also, you can ensure that the wine has gone through the necessary steps of fermentation and malolactic fermentation fully before it is bottled for the best results. During these stages, carbon dioxide is created and can escape through air locks in barrels or alternative containers. On the other hand, if you bottle too soon, it will be trapped in the wine bottles and can even pop the corks from the bottles while trying to escape.

Length of Time to Age Wine in Barrels or Alternative Containers before Bottling It

The length of time that you should age your wine in oak barrels will vary depending upon the type of wine. While some are ready for bottling in a few short months, others may take up to seven years to reach the ideal mouth-feel and flavour profile before bottling. You can shorten this aging time with alternative containers since you can control the chemical processes a bit closer.

Aging Continues after Bottling

Once the wine is bottled, it continues to age. In fact, some winemakers feel like this is the true aging process of the wine. The wine consumes the oxygen that seeps into it during bottling, and this creates an atmosphere free of oxygen. It is during this time that the wine goes through the reductive stage where many chemical reactions take place to produce the wine’s final flavour and other characteristics.

To bring robust wine to fruition in the ideal manner, you must understand how to age it correctly or you will wind up with less than favourable results. Also, to ensure that you have all of the right supplies and equipment on hand for your winemaking venture, turn to Grapeworks Consumables. We specialise in everything you need to make wine, beer or cider.