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November 19, 2009


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Excellent recap of cap management and other winemaking echniques.
You left of "sub merged" cap winemaking, which the photo in you post seem to suggest.

Thanks, Charles.

Lenn took that photo. Do you use submerged cap at Paumanok?

There are all kinds of other creative ways to keep the cap down. Rotofermenters come to mind as well.

Tom - good job as usual on explaining many of these terms. Your description of pump-overs however was surprisingly negative. The technique of pumping-over has been used for hundreds of years and produces some of the best wines in the world.
When done with a proper must pump and an intelligent approach as to the timing and frequency, it is one of the best and most effective ways to produce quality red wines. In addition, the use of a screen cart/basin is commonly used to removed seeds prior to pumping.
As it typically occurs in a closed-top tank, exposure to oxygen - especially during the early stages of the must - can be kept to an absolute minimum. I find this important in the healthy establishment of spontaneous fermentations. Temperature can be controlled, often without additional refrigeration as the fermenting juice travels outside of the tank and back, as well as through the action of its dispersal on the inside of the tank wall.

There are many ways to accomplish this important task - however, one must not loose site of the fact that the most important qualitative factor in this discussion is the ultimate ripeness of the fruit.


Thanks for pointing out the seed removal procedure for pumpover. I would definitely call my definition of pumpover simplistic and incomplete, but not necessarily negative. I didn't mean to imply that one cap management method is superior over any other (I'll leave that for winemakers to argue behind closed doors...).

As for oxygen, I suppose that oxygen exposure before and during fermentation comes down to a reductive vs. oxidative winemaking philosophy. If minimizing O2 is your goal, then pumpover can help achieve that goal.

Awesome post. I'm going to add it to an online database of wine resources. ( http://winelinks.wordpress.com/ ) Thanks for all the links to published work too (although the direct link for Jackson's wine science didn't work. I had to reload the preview page and manually enter the page number.)

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