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

Racking / Sulphiting

Racking / Sulphiting

Racking / Sulphiting : when malolactic fermentation is completed (total absence of malic acid) the wine is racked once more, i.e. it is moved to another container. In Burgundy, maturing in barrels is very common.

The wine is transferred from a tank to a barrel or from one barrel to another (if malolactic fermentation has taken place in barrels). The wine remains fragile and at the time of this racking it is sulphited: sulphite is added to the wine. 

  • Separate the “clear” wine and eliminate the lees (sediment at the bottom of the tank or barrels)
  •  Sulphiting helps avoid the quality of the wine being degraded due to the development of detrimental microorganisms and protects it against oxidation

The process for vinifying

white Bourgogne wines