Wine is bottled poetry. – Robert Louis Stevenson
The science of wine making has been under a constant process of achieving perfection ever since man first stumbled upon the alcohol created from fermented and rotten fruit. The beauty of it also is that the idea of achieving perfection will never change, nor will it ever be achieved since everything can always be improved upon.
There are nearly 4000 different varieties of grape that are used in wine production. This diversity of grape creates a whole slew of flavors, aromas, and colors that can be chosen from when determining a specific wine to produce. Other factors that have an affect upon the finished product include the soil the grapes are grown in, the topography and region of the grapes, as well as the climate. Many people don’t know that there is such a thing as Ice Wine, and ice wine can only be produced after snow has partially frozen grapes left on the vine.
The Three Main Categories Of Wine
Table Wines: Table wines consist of the Red, White, and Rose types. They are all allowed to ferment naturally, and in sum, constitute for most of the world’s wine production. Some of the more notable Red Wines include: Angelo Gaja Barbaresco and Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet
Sparkling Wines: Sparkling wines have mostly the same production process as table wines, however rather than dark grapes, they use the green or white ones. It also has carbon dioxide included in order to make it fizzy. A notable Sparling Wine considered a Rosa is Dom Perignon Brut.
Fortified Wines: Fortified wine is a wine that has an added distilled beverage, which tends to usually be Brandy. Essentially it is a wine that has an added spirit included in it. Thus making it fortified, or stronger.
To begin, grapes are first picked and transported to the winery. There is a lot of precautionary steps that must be taken before the distillation process beings, as every piece of equipment must be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected to ensure that bacteria doesn’t sully the batch.
Once this has been completed, the actual process of turning the blood of grapes into wine begins. This process is different for four types of wine as would be expected, each Red, White, Sparkling, and Fortified wines have their own specific steps and procedures, and each is a little different for certain wineries. If they weren’t, we would all have the same type of wine. But it is within the smaller details of this process where good wines become great, and those are all kept secret and protected by wine producers as those are their trade secrets. But for all of them, they all follow the same basic process, which we will now go over.
Basic Steps For Wine Production
Must: For the grapes that have been chosen to make the wine, they must first be processed and destemmed. This means putting them through the crusher-destemmer, which is a device, that the name would imply, where the grapes are simultaneously crushed into a pulpy material called “Must” while having the stems removed.
The musk is then transferred into fermenting bins where it is allowed to sit for a few days. This is referred to as a “cold soak,” and allows for the grape juice to gain color and flavor. If the growth of yeast and bacteria is to be kept to a minimum, this is the point where sulfur dioxide is included.
Fermentation: The cold soak continues for a couple of days, after which the carbon dioxide created from the fermentation of the musk makes the grape skins rise toward the top of the tank. This layer of skin is allowed to remain as long as possible because it provides much of the color and taste to the wine. These skins are called Tannins, and tannins create the astringency that is often desired in many wines.
Pressing and Settling: The fermentation process continues for as long as the wine maker deems necessary. This is dependent upon both personal preference, and what’s needed for specific wine flavors. Once the fermentation has continued long enough, the juice, which is at this point technically wine, is pressed away from the musk and allowed to settle for a few days.
Aging: Once the wine has been pressed and settled for the desired period of time, the wine is then put into specially chosen oak or redwood barrels for aging. The time period the wine is left to age for is determined by the preferences of the wine producer.
The aging process allows for oxygen to enter the wine, and for both water and alcohol to escape. This makes it so the overall acidity is lowered while increasing the flavor, aroma, and color of the wine. The type of wood chosen for the barrels also contributes to the flavor of the wine.
It is believed that all wines must be aged but this is not the case. Some can be aged for less than a year, others for 5 years, and even some that can be aged for up to 40 years or more. It is all dependent on the preference of the producer, and that preference is important because often times the number of years a wine is aged increases its overall price.
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About the author:
The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @COSportsZealot. If you are looking for the best in Discount Wine, be sure to visit LiquorMart.com for the widest selection.