Wawszkiewicz, Edward J. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Grape species
- Wine types
- Alcohol content
- Relative sweetness
- Wine production
- Oxidized wines
- Sparkling wines
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A beverage produced by the alcoholic fermentation of grape juice. Grapes possess two attributes that contribute to their preeminence in wine production. The juice of fresh ripe grapes is mildly acidic (pH 3.0–3.5) and contains about 21–25% fermentable sugar (mostly glucose and fructose). These properties favor the multiplication of naturally occurring yeasts which, under anaerobic conditions, carry out an alcoholic fermentation (Fig. 1) that yields ethanol and carbon dioxide as the major end products. The final result is a beverage with sufficient ethanol concentration (usually 11–14% by volume) to render it relatively stable if it is kept in sealed containers, and sufficient in tartness and flavor to be interesting to the palate. Other fruits yield stable and flavorful fermented beverages only by considerable artifice, usually involving supplementation of their juice with fermentable sugar and with acid. See also: Ethyl alcohol; Glucose
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