Manipulation

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

manipulation, a slightly pejorative term referring to a range of interventions made by winemakers. Wine is unusual among alcoholic drinks in that once the grapes have been picked and put into a container, it can more or less make itself. However, winemakers almost always intervene in a variety of ways in order to achieve particular quality or stylistic goals. These range from traditional techniques such as destemming, crushing, saignée, chaptalization, barrel fermentation, lees stirring, ageing in barrel, racking, clarification, and filtration to more modern steps such as the use of enzymes, cold maceration, cryoextraction, cultured yeasts, reverse osmosis, micro-oxygenation, spinning cone columns and oak chips—or, more likely, a combination of these methods. Many of these practices are controlled by regulations in most wine-producing countries. In general, those that have been practised for many years (such as chaptalization) are less controversial, even though they may be more interventionist and open to abuse than modern equivalents (such as reverse osmosis).