Questions regarding the role and reliability of fermentation without inoculation are going to be with us for quite some time.
Today, on PalatePress.com, Erika Szymanski provides a well done layperson’s overview of the issue. I had the pleasure of editing this piece.
I had written about these questions in a three-part series about two years ago.
Whether the yeasts involved are “wild”, “feral”, “native”, “ambient” S. cerevisiae or something else, is more than a pedantic distinction. This is an important consideration because its answer will aid in understanding what really happens in the cellar and fermenting vat.
While the uncertainty and unpredictability of spontaneous fermentation appeals to more romanticized notions of wine and winemaking, understanding what is at play in spontaneous fermentation is important because that knowledge will help predict the outcome of the fermentation.
This predictability – or at least understanding of the processes – can help winemakers attain not only a commercially viable product but one that meets the expectations of a particular subset of consumers.
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