How is Wine Made?
Wine,whether it is red or white, sparklingor non-sparkling, is made from grapes. The winemaker will harvest the grapes in autumn. There are two ways of harvesting grapes. One way is to use a mechanical harvester which straddles the grape vines and uses vibrating beaters to shake the plant’s trunk, making the grapes fall off the vines. The other way is the traditional way, where pickers manually cut and pick bunches of grapes off the vines. Using the mechanical harvester is cheaper and faster, as it can take four hours to collect grapes that would take several pickers 10 days to cut and pick the same amount. However, hand picking the grapes allows winemakers to be more selective and careful with the grapes.
After they are picked, the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed. Green stems are removed so they don’t taint the wine, however some stems may be left in when making red wine. The grape skin and juice is then pushed through holes to create ‘must’.
In the case of making white wine, the must is sent to a wine press that separates the juice and the skin. The juice is then collected and put into stainless steel, airtight fermentation tanks, where sugar and yeast are added. When making red wine, the must is first sent to the fermentation tanks and then is sent to the wine press to remove the skin.
The next step for making both white and red wine is to filter the wine to remove the yeast before storing it in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks, depending on the desired taste outcome. The wine is then left to age, which can take from anywhere between 6 to 18 months for white wine and even longer for red wine, before it is then bottled, corked and labelled, ready for sale.
Making Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine is made by repeating the fermentation process. By adding sugar and yeast to a dry wine, it triggers a re-fermentation process that creates more alcohol and extra carbon dioxide that makes the bubbles in sparkling wine. The bottle is then corked and secured with wire to make sure the pressure inside the bottle remains until it is popped open when about to be drunk. Sparkling wine is best served in a tall, thin glass, as it will slow down the dissipation of the bubbles.
Storing and Pouring Wine
Keeping wine at the right temperature is vital for the overall taste. If it is chilled for too many days, the wine flavour and taste will dull. Never freeze wine. Red wine should be stored around 18C (64F), while white wine somewhere between 8-12C (46-53F), but really it is just a matter of your own personal taste and preference.
Wine also doesn’t really need to be left to breathe. Scientists believe that pulling the cork out and letting the wine rest and breathe before drinking actually does little benefit to the overall taste of the wine. This is because the surface area exposed to the air at the top of the bottle is so small that it doesn’t do anything significant to the wine. To properly aerate the wine, you should open the bottle and quickly pour out one glass and leave the glass and the bottle to sit for at least half an hour. You could also use a large decanter to serve the wine, as the more of the wine will be exposed to the air.
When storing wine, it should be kept on its side, so the wine inside the bottle is touching the cork, as this will stop the cork from drying, shrinking, and letting in air. However, if the bottle has a plastic cork it can be stored vertically.
When a waiter offers you a taste of a wine, it is not to see if you like it or not. Instead it is to make sure that it hasn't gone off in the bottle and turned to vinegar, or been tainted by the cork.
Serious tasters use sight, colour, smell, taste and touch of a wine and look at the residue on the side of the glass to assess the wine’s quality.
Most of the world’s cork supply is produced in Portugal and has been used in wine production for over 300 years.
In 1999, a bottle of 1951 Penfolds Grange was sold at auction for $52,900.
There are around 110 calories in a standard glass or dry red or white wine, with sweet and sparkling containing more calories.
A new crop of grapes will not be ready for harvesting for four to five years.
Oenophobia is an intense fear or hatred of wine.
Roughly one ton of grapes will make around 60 boxes of wine, which is 720 bottles. In one bottle of wine there are roughly 1.3 kilograms (2.8 pounds) of grapes.
Make Your Own Wine
Why not have a go at making your own wine with this kit?
This premium wine making kit includes all the equipment and instructions you will need to make six gallons of wine at a time. It has also has an easy to use bottle filler and half inch auto siphon pump that doesn't come with other wine making kits. The equipment is hand selected by wine makers for quality and durability, so it will last for years before anything will need to be replaced. There is also a helpful Instructional DVD to guide you through the wine making process.