Malolactic Fermentation

This process has nothing to do with primary FERMENTATION since it does not involve yeasts or the production of ALCOHOL. Rather, malolactic fermentation is a chemical conversion of ACID instigated by beneficial bacteria. During the process, the sharp malic acid in grapes is converted to softer lactic acid. As a result, the wine tastes less crisp and more creamy. During malolactic fermentation, the by-product DIACETYL is created, giving the wine a buttery character. Malolactic fermentation can either occur naturally or be prompted by the winemaker. All red wines go through malolactic fermentation, rendering them more microbially stable. White wines may or may not. If the winemaker wants to achieve a soft MOUTHFEEL in the white wine, then malolactic fermentation is induced. If he or she prefers to retain dramatic, snappy acidity, then malolactic fermentation is prevented, usually by the use of SULFUR.

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