- noun the process of softening a solid by letting it lie in a liquid so that the soluble matter dissolves
- the period of time during which the grape juice is left in contact with the grape skins, seeds and fragments of stem, and the processes that take place during this time. This period of contact allows the grape juice to take on colour, flavour, and acids. In red wines maceration lasts at least as long as primary fermentation, but may be prolonged, in extended maceration, for up to several weeks to increase the colour and flavour. Before primary fermentation some winemakers undertake cold maceration, in which the grape juice is stored with the skins and seeds at a temperature too cold to allow fermentation to start. carbonic maceration, used particularly in the Loire region of France, involves fermenting the whole bunches of grapes, with their stalks, in a closed container; it produces wine that is full-flavoured with a deep red colour and lots of fruit flavour but low in tannin.