I’ll See Your Wild Ferment and Raise You Another
Few things more starkly divide the winemaking world than the philosophy surrounding how fermentation takes place. This is both a literal and philosophical separation. As the single most important chemical change in the context of winemaking (the conversion of the fruit’s sugars to alcohol) it might be said that the method of fermentation is among the most significant ways that the winemaker can shape the final wine. In my 13 years of visiting wineries, meeting with winemakers and talking with them about their craft, few ideas are held more strongly than a winemaker’s point of view on native (using yeasts found on the grapes and in the winery environment) versus inoculated (using commercially developed yeasts) fermentation.