What is the purpose of a "cold" fermentation?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Please explain the benefits of "cold" fermentation.

—David S., Marina Del Rey, Calif.

Dear David,

One of the byproducts of fermentation is heat. Too high of a temperature, and the yeasts can die, the fermentation can get stuck, and the flavors can start to taste burnt or cooked. There are also unwanted microorganisms that thrive in warmer temperatures. A warm fermentation can also mean a rapid fermentation, and a rapid fermentation can mean loss of aromas. Many winemakers also believe a cold fermentation enhances colors and preserves a wine's fruit characteristics.

—Dr. Vinny

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