Vinifying white wines: pressing occurs before fermentation

The vinification process for white wines is slightly different to that for reds. Unlike with red wines, where the winemaker is seeking to extract tannins and color from the skins and pips through maceration, grapes for white wines are pressed immediately after harvest, usually without being destalked.

The juice is then put in oak barrels or vats and alcoholic fermentation occurs.
White wines in the Bourgogne region are then left to undergo a secondary malolactic fermentation, unlike white wines produced elsewhere. During malolactic fermentation, the malic acid in the juice turns to lactic acid, making the wines smoother.

Watch our animation about vinifying white wines to improve your knowledge!

Vinifying white wines

Burgundy white wine vinification

Must settling / Racking

Must settling / Racking

The juice obtained from pressing contains particles of various sizes. The heaviest elements will settle at the bottom of the tank.

These are the lees (heavy and fine lees can be distinguished). This sedimentation is natural (static must settling) but is often accelerated either by cold treatment or by adding specific enzymes. The “clear” juice above the lees is collected in a tank (or barrels) when the required limpidity is obtained (turbidity). 

  • Obtaining a clearer juice to avoid the appearance of bad tastes during fermentation

The process for vinifying

white Bourgogne wines