The dynamics of a huge vat of grapes can be fascinating. As the wine ferments, the skins float to the top to form a thick layer known as a cap. But these skins hold the precious anthocyanins and other compounds that add color and aroma (and flavor) to the final wine. Hence the techniques of pumping over and punching down, which keep the skins mixing with the fermenting juice so that all the good stuff gets extracted. In this photo a three-foot thick cap of Cabernet Sauvignon “cracks” during a punchdown at Anomaly Vineyards in St. Helena, California.
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