Aging of wine on lees enhances the sensorial characteristics of wine. Only a small part of the lees produced in winemaking are used in traditional aging. Most are collected and then distilled or processed to obtain low quality wine. For these reasons, lees are currently an undervalued by-product of winemaking. A new technique was tested on an industrial scale to provide wine from lees of different origin. After racking, the lees were collected in an innovative steel system and processed by cycles of mixing in controlled condition of temperature and micro-oxygenation. The processing technique contributed to improving the chemical characteristics of wine from the lees. Wines obtained from the treated lees were characterized by color intensity, total polyphenols and total polysaccharides significantly higher compared to those from not treated lees, used as control. The addition of small quantities of wine from lees to a base wine led to a significant decrease of astringency and increase in body, overall aroma, olfactory intensity, and sweet sensation. The obtained results indicate that the proposed method could be an effective tool to exploit lees on a winery scale.
Part of the book: Grape and Wine Biotechnology