For The Reaction Shown Above What Is The Chemical Formula The Role of Yeast in the Fermentation Process

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The Role of Yeast in the Fermentation Process

An English efficiency expert visiting a bodega in Jerez was horrified to see so much wine maturing in old-fashioned oak barrels, and needed to know why the oak shavings weren’t placed in cast concrete vats to give the right flavor. There was at least some sense in the inquiry. Vats have always been used to blend large quantities of sherry and to store thick wines for short periods, but they are not satisfactory for maturing high-quality wines.

An obvious reason for using oak casks is the fact that they must be properly seasoned before they can be used for shipping wine. Fermentation conditions make them much better than any other process, and at any cost, so it is obviously efficient in that respect, although it is of less importance than before, now that wine is often sent to one of the two extremes. Containers and bottles, sometimes drink coasters, stone coasters, or even drinking glasses.

For many years, however, shippers have been wondering whether the standard bot is really the best size for fermentation, but none of them were willing to risk losing their former portion through rush experiments. By the end of World War II, however, there was a serious shortage of oak and shippers had to use it. Many thousands of gallons of must were fermented in vats, but at the time the results were not very good.

The main difficulty was keeping the temperature low; The fermentation vessels used now, with their precise temperature controls, had not been invented then. The shallower the fermentation the more violent the faster. At the end of three or four days, the heat and agitation cease and the second fermentation begins. Known as Lenta, it is much later than the first; The wine evolves steadily for about a fortnight and then until December or January, when the opaque suddenly “falls bright”.

It’s still very immature, but it’s wine at last, and it’s good enough to need to break out fancy drinking glasses, coaster set collections, and bar tables. By the end of the shallow fermentation, practically all of the grape sugar has been converted to alcohol, and the reaction can be expressed by a very simple chemical formula:

C6H12O (glucose) –> 2C2H5OH (ethyl alcohol) + 2CO2 (carbon dioxide)

This simple formula, due to Gay-Lussac, adequately summarizes what happens, but its oversimplification falls laughably short of the truth. And the truth was not fully discovered for decades and decades. Amerine and Cruess listed twelve different reactions at the time, and several byproducts. Fermentation is brought about by yeasts, or, more accurately, by the ferments within them.

These ferments, or enzymes, are protein catalysts that, in various forms, are responsible for many of the chemical reactions vital to life. Created by cells, they are highly complex substances and are specific in the changes they induce. Above all, they are completely natural, and so is the fermentation they bring. No need to add anything artificial.

The air in the vineyard is full of yeasts, and they accumulate in large numbers on the skins of the grapes so that they have a natural “blossom”. Among the many species, two are of notable importance: saccharomyces apiculatus, or “wild yeast,” and saccha- romyces cerevisiae variety ellipsoideus, commonly saccharomyces ellipsoideus, or “wild yeast.”

Wild yeasts outnumber wine yeasts and they initiate fermentation. However, they are relatively weak things and when the alcohol reaches about 4 percent they are defeated and die. It is then that the wine yeast takes over. Adding wild yeasts to the vineyard also greatly inhibits sulfur dioxide, and helps wine yeasts take charge at an early stage. It also kills many unwanted bacteria and molds.

Logically this can be taken a step further. All fermentation can be destroyed and fermentation can then be brought about by carefully selected fermentations of the best natural strains cultivated for specific purposes. This has been done in some wine growing districts, for example in Champagne, and the results have been very satisfactory, the general approach being crystal drinking glasses, sandstone drinking coasters, and quality rather than high quality. Bar supplies, with less disappointing wines.

That’s unlikely to happen in Jerez, though, at any rate in the near future. Many producers have used pure strains of yeast, which are readily available, but they take the view that the success rate with fermentation is so high that little can be achieved by complicated matters.

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