As a rule, fermentation takes place in large stainless steel fermentation tanks. However, many producers still carry out the fermentation traditionally in wooden containers. Red wine is preferably fermented in wooden vats open at the top. Although large wooden barrels are also used for this purpose, this is relatively time-consuming in terms of cleaning and removing the mash from the small bunghole, which is obligatory for red wines. For this reason, special barrels are also used for this purpose, where the bottom of the barrel can be removed for easier removal. In France(Burgundy), California and Australia, special barrel fermentation is common for certain red wines. The unfinished fermented wine is transferred into wooden barrels, where the fermentation is completed. However, this results in less appealing red wines due to shorter maceration contact.
However, fermentation in barrique barrels occurs mainly with white wines. This is particularly suitable for certain types of wine such as sweet wines and for suitable grape varieties such as Chardonnay. This is then often combined with yeast storage. In this case the yeasts form positive tasting compounds with the wood aromas. The fermentation temperature is usually higher and can be automated only with difficulty or not at all. On the one hand, this is associated with the emphasis and on the other hand with the reduction of certain aroma substances. Compared to tank fermentation, there is considerably more contact with oxygen with all the consequences that this entails. All in all, barrel fermentation is at the expense of fruitiness and fragrance, but body, alcohol and complexity are emphasized. Disadvantages are the considerably higher expenditure for filling and cleaning. Afterwards mostly a barrel or barrique maturation takes place. See a list of other relevant keywords under cask.
Complete lists of the numerous vinification measures and cellar techniques, as well as the types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law are included under the keyword vinification. Comprehensive information on wine law can be found under the keyword wine law.