Carbonic Maceration

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

carbonic maceration, red winemaking process which transforms a small amount of sugar in grapes which are uncrushed to ethanol, without the intervention of yeasts. It is used typically to produce light-bodied, brightly coloured, fruity red wines for early consumption, most famously but by no means exclusively in the Beaujolais region of France.

Louis pasteur observed in 1872 that grape berries held in air differed in flavour from those held in a carbon dioxide atmosphere (although he, wrongly, suspected that grapes held in carbon dioxide would produce wines for long ageing).