Special form of pressing (also whole bunch pressing) in which complete grapes are pressed with the cluster without prior destemming. Whole bunch pressing is mainly used for white wines in low-acid vintages to give the wines more acidity and freshness. However, this also reduces the alcohol content and the amount of extract somewhat. The grape frame protects the berries from too much pressing pressure. The grape seeds are thus less destroyed and less undesirable bitter tannins get into the grape must.
Since the grape skins do not come into contact with the must (as is the case with mash fermentation), this results in purer and fruitier musts. The turbidity is much lower than with mash fermentation, which makes a smoother clarification possible. However, there are differing opinions among experts and producers as to whether traditional whole cluster fermentation is not to be preferred because it produces more durable and complex wines. The argument for this is that the grape skins also contain important aromatic substances, which are omitted in whole-grape pressing. For the production of Champagne and Crémant, whole-grape pressing is even prescribed by wine law in France. But this technique is also common in other countries such as Germany and Austria for the production of the base wines for sparkling wines.
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