Definition - What does Cuvaison mean?

Cuvaison is French for "maceration." This is the process during fermentation when the juice remains in contact with the skins so that tannin, aroma and colors are extracted.

The process of cuvaison is mainly only for red wines, as the skins are fermented with the juice. Other wine styles that go through this process are rosé and "orange" wines (white wines fermented with the skins).

WineFrog explains Cuvaison

Cuvaison is maintained by doing pump-overs and punch-downs in order to keep the cap wet so that there is an even fermentation and even distribution of characteristics imparted into the grape juice.

When wine is left macerating for a slightly longer period following fermentation, the French call this "Cuvage". This is the same as extended maceration. This period can be prolonged until the cap falls into the wine. Then it is time to extract the free run wine from the tank and press the skins for the pressed wine.

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