Maturation takes place between the end of fermentation and bottling. Once the wine is bottled, ageing takes over.
Aims and Duration of Maturation
Winemakers have two objectives when maturing their wine:
- to clarify the wine; and
- to allow the wine to develop and acquire complex flavours.
The length of maturation depends on the type of wine being produced. For simple wines maturation will last a few weeks or even days. For most wines, the maturation period will be a few months but for high-quality wines, maturation can take two years or more.
Depending on the type of wine being produced maturation may take place in large scale tanks or in small volume oak barrels.
After fermentation wine still contains small particles of grape material, yeast, and bacteria suspended in the liquid. Known as lees,