So how is wine made?
While there are many steps and nuances in the wine making process there are still the basic steps of:
- The Harvest: As grapes ripen in late August or September, the winemaker confirms the sugar content is where he/she wants it before picking.
- The Crush: After the grapes a picked they are transported to the winery to be crushed (the extraction of the juice from the grapes). White and Red wines are different: Typically, when grapes are crushed, the skin and seeds remain with red wines but the skins and seeds are removed for white wines.
- Fermentation: The juice, skins, and seeds (not for white wines) are poured into fermenting bins or tanks. Cultured yeast is often added into this grape juice. Fermentation begins when the yeast begins to digest the sugars present in the grape juice. Carbon dioxide and alcohol are by-products of this process.
- Barrel Aging: After fermentation, the wine is transferred to barrels for aging. Depending on the wine maybe weeks or maybe years. Typically, the wine is aged in 60-gallon French or American oak barrels.
- Racking: During barrel aging, wines are typically racked several times. This means the wine is pumped from one barrel to an empty barrel. Solids are removed from the bottom of the barrel and the barrel is used again.
- Bottling: When the desired aging is complete, the wines are bottled. Wines may continue to be aged in the bottle before release.
While the above is a basic overview. There are many books and classes available about the making and enjoying of wine, we have even listed some of our favorites in our Bookstore.
But, sometimes reading about something is not quite enough. We will be asking the various wine makers we meet to share with us the various processes they use in their wineries. These short videos will be available here and on YouTube as they are produced.
Sit back, open a bottle, volitize those esters and enjoy.