I have recently learned about Light Lees Protocol and was wondering if someone would be able to relate some practical anecdotal experience.

Is there a substantial difference in quality if you separate the wine from the lees after a time instead of letting the wine ferment in bottles? For example, what would happen if I let the must sit on the lees for three or so months?

Second, would the lees' taste continue to mature after being removed, or is the prevalence you experience at tasting during secondary indicative of the final result?

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


The answer depends upon the type of wine you are making. I have one bottle of French Columbard that I turned into sparkling wine due to an accidental over-addition of acid before primary fermentation. I aged all of the bottles with the lees for 2 years minimum before degorging with the sole purpose of getting the yeasty notes I have experienced with Champagne. I repeated that process with some sparkling apple wine and had the same success at getting the flavor I had intended. Autolysis of yeast cells seems to be impacted by a variety of factors, and bottle age under CO2 pressure seems to be different than bottle age under an airlock from my recollection of various winemaking books I have read (I would cite references but those particular books are still packed up somewhere in the basement from the move).

With regards to bulk/ bottle ageing I do not know how still wines yeasty character changes over time as I typically do not intentionally age on the lees except for sparkling wines.

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