Cold Soaking Pre-Fermentation

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Jun 24, 2015
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On the back label of many Pinot Noirs we see the term “Cold Soak” listed as part of the winemaking process. If you make your way into a tasting room in the Sonoma Valley of California or the Willamette Valley of Oregon, you may have a winemaker or tasting room host divulge in a very quick succession of words that the wine in your glass was cold soaked for 3 days, for example. In California, we almost expect to see most mid- to high-end Pinot Noirs cold soaked before fermentation.

This process seldom seems to break its way out of Pinot prison but some believe that this process has the potential to be appropriate for other varietals as well, within a myriad of various styles. With the advent of refrigerated stainless steel fermenters, and the availability of solid CO2 (Dry Ice), this process has become relatively simple to implement. If you’ve made it this far and you’re still nodding your head pretending you know what this fancy cold-soaking thing is, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.

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Aug 24, 2011
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This is how I take it - I cold maceration which means I add sulfite to prevent any fermentation and kill off any wild yeast, prior to cold maceration.

Then after several days being below 40 degrees F it will get alot of the extract color and flavor from grape skins, prior to start of fermentation making a much better wine due to the mouth feel and the complexity of the wine in general.