Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Baumé, scale of measuring total dissolved compounds in grape juice, and therefore its approximate concentration of grape sugars (see must weight). It is used in much of Europe, including France, and Australia and, like other scales used elsewhere (see brix and oechsle), it can be measured with either a refractometer or a hydrometer. The Baumé scale is particularly useful in winemaking since the number of degrees Baumé indicates the potential alcohol in percentage by volume. (Grape juice of 12 °Baumé, for example, would produce a wine of about 12% alcohol if fermented out to dryness.) The rate of fall in Baumé is one method used to follow the course of an alcoholic fermentation, but it should be noted that its product, ethanol, has a low density and progressively depresses hydrometer readings.