(Our) Red Vinification: Remontage (pump-over), Delestage (Rack and Return), Submerged Cap - Part 1

28 December 2020

We are still in the company of our production manager Ivan Lentini to talk about the red vinification technique adopted in Tenute d’Italia. In the previous articles we outlined the main differences with the white vinification process, and now we are ready to go into detail on one of these, perhaps the main one, that is the management of the marc. Does the presence of the marc within the must affect the fermentation process? If so, how?

Let's say that the presence of the marc – or pomace - affects the fermentation of the actual sugars only indirectly, however some interventions are necessary to optimize the management of the mass. If the main (objective is to achieve) goal is to facilitate a perfect extraction of the aromatic and colouring substances from the skins, at the same time you will need to be especially careful to anticipate the onset of some potential problems that could seriously affect the success of this process. What we absolutely must avoid is the deterioration of the mass of marc, or to ensure it will not dry out or develop mould or rot.

How can this deterioration occur?

As we said, the marc basically forms a solid mass immersed in a liquid. During alcoholic fermentation, the production of carbon dioxide by the yeasts within the must tends to bring this mass upwards, making it surface. This creates the so-called "cap" or "head", the upper part of which will be exposed to the air, making it vulnerable to the problems mentioned above.

What are the methods you use to preserve the best conditions of the marc?

There are two methods that we use. The first involves the use of the remontage (or pump over) technique, that is, the extraction of a part of the must from the tank, and then to reintroduce it from above, breaking the cap of marc and making it sink. In the early stages, when fermentation is more tumultuous and favours the rapid re-emergence of the marc, this operation is performed up to three or four times a day; as time passes, with the slowing down of fermentation and with an ever greater degradation of the skins, the frequency decreases to only once a day.

This same operation can also be carried out by completely emptying the tank and takes the name delestage (or rack and return).


Tenute D'Italia is a trade mark of Morini s.r.l.
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Tel +39 0542 641194 - Imola (BO) Italy