At the end of the settling, racking is carried out to separate the clear juice from the deposit that has settled at the bottom of the vat.
3. Alcoholic fermentation. This is carried out on clear must, without any skins or suspended particles, at a lower temperature than for red wine fermentation (from 16 to 18 °C — 60 to 64 °F), for an average duration of twelve to fifteen days. Malolactic fermentation, which is mandatory for red wines, is optional in the case of whites, for it raises the risk of an excess lowering of the wine’s acidity. Actually, its advisability depends on the grape variety and above all on the intended style of wine.
4. Drawing off, sulfiting. Once fermentation is complete, the wine should be separated from its coarser lees by drawing off and sulfiting. Refrigeration or filtration is helpful in removing the finer lees, which are not always eliminated when the wine is aged on lees.
5. Aging. New wines all need to be prepared for blending, bottling and consumption. Aging has the effect of clarifying and stabilizing them, eliminating their youthful failings and giving them a chance to blossom out. Like red wines, white wines may be aged in vats or in oak barrels.
6. Blending. As is also the case for red wines, this operation aims at balancing the grape varieties, terroirs and harvest dates by elaborating one or several cuvées. It is followed by filtration — in most cases —, and then by bottling.