Wine is literally just fermented grape juice. When you are at a restaurant and you look at a menu and see it listed with hints of “cherry” or “chocolate” those are just flavor notes. Those ingredients aren’t actually in the wine itself, just ways in which to describe the wine’s taste. There are products that do add flavours, but those are not the real deal. Fruit wines are also not technically wine either, so we’re not going to be discussing those today, cool?
The steps of wine making
- Grapes are grown in a vineyard. Keep in mind that wine can only be as good as its grapes, so good grapes = good wine. It is SUPER IMPORTANT that the grapes are grown lovingly in a suitable place.
- The grapes are harvested. In northern areas, the harvest is generally between August and October, and in southern areas, between March and April. The grapes are picked by hand or by machine–I prefer hand picked grapes, personally.
- At the winery, the grapes ferment in giant vats. The yeast (either natural or added) eats the sugar in the grape juice, turning it into alcohol and carbon dioxide (which sometimes sits on the top of the vat like a shield). In whites, the grapes are normally pressed and the juice is fermented in a tank. For reds, the grapes are normally crushed and the juice is left to macerate in their skins and other gunk, pulling out all the color and tannins.
- The white and red that has now been separated from its “gunk” is now stored in a barrel to ferment slightly further or age a bit more.
- Lastly, the wine is bottled and is ready to be bought and sold to you!
Production is creative!
All wine makers are artists, in that they all have control over the way their wine’s taste and sweetness, the alcohol content within, and the way in which it is bottled and sold. It’s a super creative and fascinating industry.
Don’t forget to download my FREE WINE VOCAB GUIDE above and leave me some comments below. I’d love to hear about any wineries you’ve visited that were especially interesting.