Extracting Flavor

The base [base ingredients] is where the wine's flavor and aroma comes from.

The first essential step in winemaking is to extract the flavor and aroma from the base ingredients by chopping, crushing, pressing, boiling or soaking them. This can be done in several ways. The recipes on this site each select and specify a particular method for accomplishing this.

WHOLE FRUIT OR BERRIES: If you begin with whole fruit or berries, there are four basic methods of extracting flavors and aromas. The base is first prepared. It might be peeled or not. Seeds (pits) might be removed or not. Immature (not yet fully ripe) fruit or berries are culled (removed), as are those showing signs of over-ripeness (brown spots, mold, rot) or bird or insect damage. After washing to remove dust, bird droppings, insects and pesticides, the extraction method is selected. Placing the fruit or berries in a nylon straining bag before it is placed in the primary greatly eases the later removal of the pulp from the must.

  • Cold maceration. The fruit or berries are crushed or chopped or sliced and placed in the primary fermentation vessel (called simply¬†the primary). Sugar, water and sulfites (crushed Campden tablets or potassium metabisulfite), as specified in the recipe, are added and stirred in well and the primary is covered and set aside for 8-10 hours. Then pectic enzyme is added, stirred in well, and the primary is refrigerated for a specified period (usually 24-48 hours). It is then removed and allowed to return to room temperature. Additional ingredients are then added, stirred in well, and the yeast culture (in the form of a starter solution) is introduced.
  • Hot water extraction. The fruit or berries are crushed or chopped or sliced and placed in the primary fermentation vessel. The necessary amount of sugar is added and boiling water is poured over the fruit and sugar. A sanitized wooden spoon or paddle is used to stir the must to help dissolve the sugar. The primary is covered and set aside to cool to room temperature. Additional ingredients are then added in a timed fashion according to the recipe and then the yeast culture is introduced in a starter solution.
  • Direct heat extraction. The fruit or berries are crushed or chopped or sliced and placed in a stainless steel cooking pot. A small amount of water is added to prevent scorching and the pot is placed on the stove on medium-high heat until the juices begin to flow from the base. Usually, the liquid is not allowed to boil. The base is stirred to heat it evenly. After a set amount of time, it is removed from the heat. The liquid is usually fermented without the pulp, but in some cases the pulp is left in the liquid and the two are fermented together. If the liquid only is to be fermented, the base is either strained hot or allowed to cool before being strained. The fruit and berries, or just the juice, are placed in the primary for fermentation. The sugar and water may be added while still hot, but most other ingredients are not added until the mixture cools to room temperature. This method is only used for particular reasons, as the cooking adds another flavor component to the finished wine that many find objectionable.
  • Fermentation extraction. The fruit or berries are crushed or chopped or sliced and placed in the primary fermentation vessel. Other ingredients, including sugar, water, sulfites, pectic enzyme, acid blend, yeast nutrients, etc., are added in a time-dependent fashion and then the yeast culture is introduced in a starter solution. Flavors and aromas are extracted by the fermentation action of the yeast on the must. This occurs at a normal (room) ambient temperature.

FRUIT JUICE OR CONCENTRATE: Concentrates are reconstituted (diluted with water) into juice before fermenting. Other ingredients are added to protect and balance the must after it is placed in a primary. Always begin fermentation in a primary, without an airlock, unless specially instructed to begin in a carboy. The inoculate (yeast culture added to the juice) needs exposure to oxygen for the first 48-72 hours to assist the yeast in rapid reproduction and increase the population to a density suitable for rapid fermentation.

FLOWERS AND LEAVES: Some of the best wines are made from flower petals. Dandelion, rose petal and hibiscus are three flowers that make excellent wines. Honeysuckle, cactus flower, tulip, red or white clover, and coreopsis also make wonderful wines. Flavor is usually extracted by one of three methods. Place the flowers (usually just the petals) in a nylon straining bag to reduce cleanup time and effort. Brambles, vine prunings, nettle tops, and leaves of selected trees and herbs are processed the same as are flowers and petals.

  • Hot water extraction. The flowers or petals are placed in the primary fermentation vessel. The necessary amount of sugar is added and boiling water is poured over the flowers and sugar. A sanitized wooden spoon or paddle is used to stir the must to help dissolve the sugar. The primary is covered and set aside to cool to room temperature. Additional ingredients are then added in a timed fashion according to the recipe. The mixture is sometimes allowed to steep for some time and then brought to a boil in a stainless steel pot, allowed to cool, and then placed in primary. When cooled and fortified with all additional ingredients (acid blend, tannin, yeast nutrient, etc., the yeast culture is introduced in a starter solution.
  • Direct heat extraction. The flowers or petals are placed in a stainless steel cooking pot. A small amount of water is added to prevent scorching and the pot is placed on the stove on medium-high heat and brought to a boil for a set amount of time. It is removed from the heat and poured through a straining bag or muslin cloth draped in a funnel. The liquid is allowed to cool and transferred to a primary. The sugar and remaining water may be added while still hot, but most other ingredients are not added until the liquid cools to room temperature.
  • Fermentation extraction. The flowers or petals are placed in the primary fermentation vessel. Other ingredients, including sugar, water, sulfites, pectic enzyme, acid blend, yeast nutrients, etc., are added in a time-dependent fashion and then the yeast culture is introduced in a starter solution. Flavors and aromas are extracted by the fermentation action of the yeast on the must. This occurs at a normal (room) ambient temperature.
Internet archive capture on: June 13, 2022
Source URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20130305014902/http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/extracting.asp