What happens after fermentation?
As harvest comes to an end, and the wines are nearing the end of fermentation, sugar is being depleted and the yeast has nothing to consume and therefore dies out. The dead yeast cells, as well as any other solid particles sink to the bottom of barrel. This is also known as lees. Once this happens, we do a gentle clarification known as racking. Racking, more or less is siphoning the wine out of the barrel into another container. Once this has been done, the barrel is cleaned and the wine will be put back into it and then topped off to make up for the loss that has occurred due to racking and fermentation. In other cases wine may be left on the lees which is known as sur lie aging which translates directly to French as “on the lees.” Wine left on the lees may have a more yeasty or creamy aroma and texture to it. The decision to rack or not, all depends on what you are striving to accomplish with each wine!