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Pigéage is a French term that means ‘punching down’ and refers to breaking through and immersing the ‘cap’. The cap is the floating mass of skins, stems, seeds and other solid components on the must during the red wine pulp fermentation. By immersing the cap, it is ensured that the skins come into contact with the fermenting must again. This prevents the formation of aerobic bacteria, but also improves the extraction of color, tannins and aromas from the grape skins (see also ‘cap management’). Pigéage can take place by using a stick, but can nowadays also take place automatically by a punch-down machine in the fermentation tank. In addition, the cap can also be submerged by pumping the wine from the bottom of the tank over the cap, this latter process is called ‘remontage’ in French.


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