In some earlier posts, we introduced a few home winemaking terms that you may or may not be familiar with. There are many terms to learn in home winemaking, and this post, like the previous posts, will give you a short introduction to a few of those terms to help you get started in home winemaking, or perhaps brush up on some of the terms you may not have seen in a while.
- Anthocyanin: We’re coming out swinging with this winemaking term! Anthocyanin is the term for those chemical compounds that are responsible for the color of red wines. Specifically, depending upon the pH of the wine, anthocyanins appears to the naked eye as various shades of red, purple, or sometimes blue. Anthocyanins are from the parent family of Flavanoids, and are odorless and flavorless, though they often contribute a quality of astringency to a wine. Anthocyanins are frequently spotted in the research literature, as they have been linked to not only wine quality, but also have been shown to have positive health benefits for humans.
- First Press Juice: The first press or first pressing is the juice that comes out of the grapes from the (you guessed it) first time the grapes are pressed. This juice will be the clearest and have the lowest levels of debris or other contaminants than all subsequent presses. First press juice will have greater concentrations of polyphenols and skin/seed-related compounds than free-run juice (see below).
- Free-Run Juice: Elaborating a little more on juice from grapes, the winemaking term free-run juice is defined as the juice that comes from the grapes without any pressing. In other words, it’s the juice that comes out of the grapes on its own as they sit there in the press prior to any pressure being applied. Free-run juice is often kept separate from pressed juice, and sometimes mixed back together during blending to increase quality and complexity of the finished wine. It’s perfectly acceptable to make a wine completely from free-run juice (or pressed-juice only) and is sometimes as simply as personal preference.
- Must: This home winemaking term might be pretty easy for you, though if you’re completely new to winemaking, it may seem like an odd word to you. Must is actually a noun in winemaking, and not the auxiliary verb form that is often used in everyday language. The definition of must in winemaking is actually significantly different than the definition of must you may have run into throughout your education. Must in winemaking is a term for the unfermented grape juice, including the skins, seeds, and other plant debris left after pressing. Basically, the must is the stuff you have after pressing the grapes but before you have wine.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.