7 January 2019 | Raidis Estate
Wine and the importance of temperature
Temperature control is critical when it comes to wine, and not just during fermentation, but during maturation, storage, and consumption.
During fermentation, temperature significantly affects and controls the rate of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes into alcohol. It also changes the way the wine comes together. A cool fermentation will take longer than a warm fermentation to convert the sugars to alcohol, and will help to retain more of the delicate aromatics in the resulting wine.
A rule of thumb is a longer, cooler fermentation process results in better wine, with softer, more primary fruit characters coming out in the final wine. A warmer fermentation temperature pushes the flavour profile of the wine toward more ‘secondary’ characters and greater extraction from the grapes, and less primary flavours. (For example, a Shiraz with a cool ferment will show more red cherry and perfumed blueberry characters, and when fermented warm, it would be more ‘jammy’ with preserved fruit flavours, rather than juicy berries).
Temperature is just one element of influence the winemaker has over the final wine. If you tasted wine made from the same grapes with the only difference being a 5-10C difference in fermentation temperature, you would be tasting two completely different wines.
Maturation and Storage:
Typically, during maturation, the wine is best kept cool (not cold), and ideally, the temperature kept stable and constant. Significant fluctuations in temperature increase the rate of the ageing process and the wines can become more ‘advanced/ developed’ than is ideal at the time for bottling. This is the same concept as for how you should manage wines in your own cellar at home. Cool, constant temperature means the wine ages slowly and becomes more integrated and balanced in the process.
Now, storage and consumption temperatures are not the same. In storage, you want to slow the ageing process, and the release of volatile (flavour/ aroma) compounds in the wine, but when the wine is being consumed, it’s no longer about trying to reduce the release and development of those compounds for a later date because consumption time is that later date.
Before consuming your wine, it’s important to warm the wine up a little to allow those flavour and aroma compounds to be released which creates that beautiful bouquet you enjoy when the wine is in the glass.
Typically, you should add a few degrees Celsius to the storage temperature of the wine before serving (you can smell when the release happens).
The exact temperature to enjoy each wine at really depends on the wine, and the situation. The best guide is your own sense of taste and smell.
Next time you open a beautiful bottle of Raidis Estate, take note of how long it takes in your glass to warm up from storage and release those gorgeous aromatics that we craft our wines to show.
You’ll know when you like it, and you’ll be glad you took the time to check.