Greetings to the list.

Why, in Georgics 1.295, is the peasant woman boiling the must?

Thomas's note ad loc. leaves me entirely mystified:  "The boiling down
of must was a means of bypassing fermentation."  How on earth can you
make wine without fermentation?  If you boil down the must you'll simply
end with concentrated grape juice.

Is it possible that Virgil is referring to a practice, still followed in
some places, of making a very low-grade wine ("piquette") by adding
water to the already pressed lees?  Does this involve boiling the whole
mess rather than simply pouring boiling water over it, which is excluded
by Virgil's vivid line 296?

The idea of boiling the must prior to fermentation in order to kill
infections hardly belongs to the pre-Pasteur age.  Or could they have
hit on this idea by pure trial and error?

Can any vintners enlighten me?


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