Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Producing Wine
Winemaking has been around for centuries and experts have managed to make a real art out of it. Still, winemaking isn’t only an art, it’s a science as well. Wine manufacturers use different techniques and tools to make their wine taste better. If you enjoy drinking wine, you’ve probably wandered how exactly manufacturers make wine. Listed below is everything you might want to know about wine manufacturing, so make sure you read on.
Harvesting is the first and one of the most important steps in winemaking. The moment when the grape is picked determines the wine taste. It’s very important that acidity and sweetness are balanced at the point of harvesting, and this can be achieved by a little bit of science and old-fashioned tasting. In the northern hemisphere, grapes are usually harvested between August and October while in the southern hemisphere, they’re usually harvested between February and April. Harvesting can be done either mechanically or by hand. Most of the manufacturers decide to do it by hand since the use of machines can be hard both on grapes and vineyards.
In order to make wine, grapes have to be destemmed and crushed after they are harvested. For years and years, people did this by stomping the grapes themselves. Today, this is done mechanically and the machines turn grapes into what is called “must“. This is basically a freshly pressed grape juice that still contains grape skin, seeds and solids from the grapes. The use of machines for this process brought a huge sanitary gain and made wine taste even better.
Naturally, must ferments in 6-12 hours when aided with wild yeasts that can be found in the air. However, most of the manufacturers decide to intervene and use commercial cultured yeast. This is the case because commercial yeast helps them create consistency and predict the final result. The temperature of fermentation directly affects the quality of the wine and that’s why manufacturers use a machine called heat exchanger. Fermentation can last anywhere from 10 days to a month or even a month and a half.
Once fermentation is over, the process of clarification starts. This is when all the solids (dead yeast cells, proteins and tannins) are removed from the mix. Wine is then placed in different vessels, which are usually steel tanks or oak barrels. Once the wine is transferred, it also has to be fined and filtered. Usually, this is done by adding substances that all the unwanted particles tend to adhere to and get forced to the bottom of the barrel or steel tank. Other large particles are removed during a process called filtration. Once both fining and filtration are over, wine is transferred to another vessel.
Bottling and aging
With the initial process of winemaking being done, this is where the manufacturer gets to decide whether they’ll bottle the wine immediately or let it age. Aging can be done in oak barrels, steel tanks, or bottles. Most of the manufacturers who age their wine choose to do it in oak barrels since this gives the wine a rounder and more vanilla-like taste. Not only this, but oak barrels also increase wine’s exposure to oxygen during the process of aging, which helps it reach its optimal fruitiness.Manufacturers usually follow these 5 steps when making wine. However, as mentioned above, a lot of them decide to use different techniques and tools in order to make their wine more unique. No matter how the wine was made, the most exciting part is when sommeliers and us regular people get a chance to do a bit of wine tasting