Whether you regularly drink a variety of wines, or you drink it only on occasion, the process of making wine is often left a mystery. While you may not need to understand all the ins and outs of every aspect of production, it might be helpful to have a general understanding of the basics. You might find that this simple knowledge gives you a further insight into having the best experiences with your wines.
Whether you are a wine expert or a novice, you probably know that wines are made from grapes. When left to ferment for a long period of time, the natural sugars in the grapes’ juice are eventually turned into alcohol, and the taste that you know as wine. Here are a few simple steps to illustrate the process of grapes turning into wines.
The location of a vineyard can make a huge difference on the results of its wines. Conditions in the environment, soil quality, systems of irrigation, and the maintenance of pests can each change the condition of the grapes and the end result. The vineyard’s exposure to the sun can also change the result, affecting the sugar levels of the grapes. A quality vineyard that is properly maintained will likely produce the best results and the highest quality in its wines.
Crushing The Grapes
Once the grapes have been harvested, it is time to crush them down and to remove the stems. The purpose of crushing the grapes is to break the skin so that the juice can run. The sugar from the grape’s juice mixes with the yeast on the skin, creating the alcohol content.
The process of creating white wines is slightly different. When making white wines, the skins are removed, leaving only the juice content and the white color to be fermented.
Fermentation And Maturation
During fermentation, the sugar content in the crushed grapes is naturally converted into alcohol. Carbon dioxide is another result of this process, adding to the texture and to the end result. On some occasions, the sugar content of the grapes alone is not high enough to create the desired level of alcohol. When this happens, sugar is sometimes added. This process is known as “enrichment”. If the acid content is low, it can be supplemented through a similar process of “acidification”.
The process of fermentation and maturation can last for various lengths of time. The process of Malolactic fermentation is sometimes added in addition to the regular process, producing a softer feeling and reducing the acidity.
Before wines can be sold and served, they undergo an important clarification process of fining and filtering. Clearing out unwanted particles and dead yeast cells left over from the grapes and fermentation, the clarification process is essential in producing quality wines.
To produce some specific wines, the process of blending is required. This blending process is simply the combining of two separate wines to produce a desired effect. Blending is often a process attempted only by experts with a vast understanding of various wines.
Once they are finished, wines are bottled and prepared for distribution. Topped with either a cork or a screw cap, and labeled with unique features and company information, bottled wines are ready for distribution and the process of making wine is complete.