Maceration-fermentation is a critical stage in the elaboration of high-quality red wine. During this stage, the solid parts of the grape berries remain in contact with the fermenting must in order to extract polyphenols mainly located in the grape skin cells. Extracted polyphenols have a considerable impact on sensory properties (color, flavor, astringency, and bitterness) and on the aging behavior of red wine. In order to obtain wines with a sufficient proportion of those compounds, long maceration times are required. The presence of the solid parts of the grapes during red wine fermentation involves several problems for the wineries such as production capacity reduction, higher energy consumption for controlling the fermentation temperature and labor and energy consumption for periodically pump the grape must over the skin mass. Physical techniques based on heating such as thermovinification and flash expansion are currently being applied in wineries to improve the extraction of polyphenols and to reduce maceration time. However, these techniques present a series of problems derived from the heating of the grapes that affect wine quality. A series of recent studies have demonstrated that non-thermal innovative technologies such as pulsed electric fields (PEF) and ultrasound may represent effective alternatives to heating for assisting polyphenol extraction. In terms of general product quality and energetic requirements, this review compares these thermal and non-thermal physical technologies that aim to reduce maceration time.
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