There’s no question that many people enjoy drinking as a way to unwind after a long and stressful day. Also, most celebrations aren’t complete without toasting with wine or other alcoholic beverages. Each person has their preferences when it comes to liquor. Some may prefer light drinks such as beer, while others like stronger ones such as vodka or scotch.
Wine is a popular drink that many people enjoy. There’s a wide variety of white, red, sweet, and sparkling wines, each with different characteristics, so you’re bound to find out that’ll suit your preferences. But before a bottle of wine gets sold in the market, it first undergoes a long process that takes time, expertise, and dedication.
Step 1- Harvesting
The first step in the winemaking process is cultivating and harvesting grapes. It’s the most critical determinant that significantly affects the end product, so most winemakers pay utmost attention to their grapes’ quality. Aside from the type of grape, the vineyard’s location, soil, and climate can also affect the quality of the wine.
Most harvesters check the clusters of grapes before picking them. They inspect its ripeness and sweetness to ensure that they’ll harvest it during its best condition. Conventionally, wineries handpick their grapes to protect the skin from getting damaged. However, mechanical harvesting equipment is now more commonly used since many wine producers operate on a much bigger scale.
Step 2- Processing the Grapes
Once a winery finishes harvesting, they prepare the grapes for processing. The fruits are removed from the stalks before they’re crushed and fermented. The grapes mustn’t be mixed with other materials such as stems and leaves since it will affect the wine’s taste.
The next step in winemaking is the fermentation process. This process starts by crushing the grapes and extracting the juice from the fruit. Afterward, yeast is introduced to the wine juice to convert the sugar content into alcohol. During fermentation, the wine’s flavors will start to develop.
The fermentation process for white and red wines has a slight difference. This is because the skin of the black grapes is an essential ingredient when making red wines.
Step 3- White Wines
White wines are usually made from light-skinned grapes and are fermented without skin contact. When making them, winemakers separate the pulp and skin from the grape juice after crushing the fruit. The skin can influence a white wine’s color and flavor profiles, so it’s essential to separate the skin from the liquid.
The type of grape processed will also affect the color of the wine. For instance, Chardonnays will usually have a bright yellow color, which will have slight variations depending on where it was harvested. White wines made from Chablis will have a slightly lighter shade compared to the ones made in Napa.
The processing of wine can tell you what type it is and give you an idea of what it’ll taste like. You will learn a lot about your favorite drinks, such as what is Grenache Blanc wine or why Reisling has its distinct petrol aroma. You’ll also know how to distinguish different wines and tell where it was made just by its characteristics.
Step 4- Red Wines
One difference when making whites and reds is how the skins of the grapes are used. Tannin, which is an important characteristic of red wine, comes from the grapes’ skin. This is why when processing red wines, the skins aren’t separated from the grape juice.
After crushing black grapes, the skins are pressed into the juice to allow the tannins to develop. The skin will also influence the color of the wine. Grapes with thicker skins such as Nebbiolo will usually produce wines with a darker tone and higher tannins.
Most people who enjoy drinking red wine have different preferences. Some prefer softer red wines with medium levels of alcohol, tannins, and acidity. Others choose bolder red wines with robust flavors. Understanding the production process can help you enjoy your wine better. You’ll appreciate the craftsmanship involved in producing your favorite bottle and make your wine drinking experience more meaningful.
Step 5- Aging
After the fermentation process, the wine is then filtered and stored before bottling to ensure that the flavors develop correctly and the end product won’t have any leftover particles and impurities. Traditionally, wines are stored in underground wine cellars since they need to be kept in cool temperatures. However, big wineries now have facilities that can maintain the temperature of the wines during the aging process.
Some winemakers store their wines in barrels, while others use stainless steel. The equipment used to store the fermented grape juice will also contribute to its taste and aroma. For example, oaked wines will have vanilla or coconut notes depending on the type of wood used. These characteristics won’t be present in a bottle of wine that wasn’t aged in oak.
Wines can either be stored for months or years. The winemakers are the ones who decide whether a wine is ready for bottling or if it still needs to age. The duration of the aging process will influence the overall quality of the wine. However, you should note that not all wines are meant to be aged. Some wines may lose their flavors if they’re stored for a long time, which is why winemakers are very particular when processing their products.
Step 6- Bottling
Once the aging process is complete, the wine is then bottled and prepared for distribution. Many wine producers have automated bottling machines that do the job of packaging the wine.
You may observe that some bottles will be corked, while others will have a twist cap. The cork used to seal wines prevent air from spoiling the wine and will allow you to store a bottle longer. Cheaper wines you can purchase in the market with aluminum caps are usually intended for immediate consumption.
The bottle of wine can tell you a lot about your drink. Most bottles will have a label that indicates the vintage, producer, and flavor profiles of their content. You can determine how much alcohol a bottle has and what fruit flavors you’ll taste.
If you’re purchasing wine, try to read the label before getting a bottle. This way, you can be sure that the wine you’re getting will fit your preferences.
Winemaking is an intricate process that takes a lot of dedication and skills. Before your favorite bottle reaches your dining table, it undergoes a lot of processing first. Remember that every time you consume a bottle of wine, you’re also drinking a product that was made with care and expertise.