- Nov 5, 2006
- Reaction score
- Raleigh, NC, USA
Depends if you do it right or do it wrong. Wrong is, as Craig alluded, permitting too much air contact.Is there a disadvantage to continuing primary fermentation for extraction purposes?
For me, the "right" way to make wine was putting it under airlock ASAP. It's only in the last few years that I considered extended maceration (EM), and it took several years of reading what professionals say and watching the results of folks on this forum trying it, for me to accept the idea.
I'm like that Dilbert quote: "Change is good. YOU go first!" I'm very much in favor of learning from the mistakes of others in lieu of making them myself.
For home winemakers, the best way to do any form of EM (letting the pomace soak in the wine following fermentation) is to do it in a sealed container where the airspace is full of CO2. [Professionals with the right equipment perform pump-overs and other techniques that are not readily available to home winemakers.]
EM is done by sealing the container when the SG is between 1.010 and 1.020. There is some disagreement as to the point of sealing, but I've gleaned that 1.010 is a good safe bottom number. The wine is continuing to emit CO2, which pushes the air out of the sealed fermenter, and protects it during the maceration.
Note: Folks add inert gas to the secondary to displace air in the headspace. However, gases mix very quickly, so it's impossible to determine if the air has been displaced. Pump enough inert gas in and it will work, but that's beyond my personal risk tolerance. Folks do it, they report it works fine, but I am not comfortable with it.
OTOH, CO2 emitting from the wine will push the air at the top of the fermenter out the airlock. It will mix with the air above the wine, but the continuous emission of CO2 pushes enough air out that it works. I have confidence in this method as the emission is continuous. YMMV
The FWK instructions state to seal the container at 1.020 and leave it sealed until Day 14. I did that with recent Frutta kits, and AFAIK, it worked fine. Fermentation completed and the gross lees dropped. Folks on this forum have performed EM as long as 8 weeks.
What happens during EM? Mostly tannin extraction. Aroma and color are extracted mostly during the first few days of fermentation, then that extraction levels out. Tannin extraction is rapid at first but continues for weeks, both from skins and seeds. Long term effect is heavy tannin extraction, which can make the wine astringent and bitter. Good for long aging wines, but not for drinkability in the first few years.
My take is that a short maceration period (e.g., press on day 14) is likely beneficial, but I'm not sold on the longer term effects for home winemakers. I'm watching what those doing it say.