Making Wine: A Quick Overview

Winemaking is a complex process. It requires very specific knowledge and understanding of grape variants, weather conditions, climate, and soil conditions. All of these things impact the flavour, colour, and quality of the wine. Winemakers are artists as well as scientists.

There are a few basic steps that most winemaking processes involve. Different winemakers may add other processes in-between depending on their experience and the wine they are making.

Harvesting

This means that the winemakerchooses the grapes that will make the wine. The winemaker will likely feel and taste the grapes at different times during the growing season. Based on this, he or she will pick the grapes when they reach the desired ripeness and taste.

Crushing

The next step is crushing. This involves removing the stems and crushing the grapes to get the juice out. Crushing and destemming can be done at the same time with machines. Some winemakers keep the stems at first and later separate them from the juice.

Pressing

Pressing involves applying pressure to the crushed grapes. This is done to separate the grape skins and the juice. The skins can be used later for adding colour or different taste elements. The juice is placed in barrels or metal tanks for fermentation.

Fermentation

Fermentation is what eventually makes the wine taste the way that it does. Fermentation of the grapes releases different elements and acids. Bacteria are introduced to the process to convert sugar into alcohol and metabolise certain acids. The juice is left to ferment for anything from three months to six months and sometimes even longer.

Temperature Control

While the grape juices are fermenting, the temperature must be monitored. The chemical reactions required to produce wine need specific conditions to be successful. The right temperature allows for optimum growth, production of necessary byproducts, and flavour extraction.

Every winemaker has his or her winemaking process. These are the basic steps but there can be a lot of individual variation. Many factors influence how a wine turns out at the end. The winemaker has to know about all of these factors and control them as far as possible. It takes time and experience to create the perfect wine.

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