Protective Juice Handling designates grape and must processing techniques that minimize exposure to oxygen and therefore the risk of oxidation. This is thought to be particularly crucial for white wines because, after the grapes are crushed and the juice is released from the fruit, the phenolics quickly react with oxygen to generate amber to dark-brown polymers (click here to learn more about tannin polymerization).

On the opposite, some common wines are produced by encouraging this oxidation; the brown pigments are then eliminated through fining. However, most of the higher-quality wines are produced by exposing them to the least amount of oxygen possible, preserving the phenolics for a later contribution to wine aromas and wine body.

It should be mentioned that the development of tank presses has greatly facilitated the Protective Juice Handling throughout the prolonged pressing process. Since red wine grapes have far higher quantities of tannins and pigments, they are much less susceptible to oxidative damage.

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