Have you ever wondered about the steps involved in preparing your favorite wine? The art of winemaking itself has been around for centuries. While there are different approaches to making the wine, the basics remain the same regardless of the part of the world you’re getting your wine from. In most instances, Mother Nature provides all the ingredients needed to make the finest wine. There are five main processes involved in making wine. There are endless variations and alterations depending on the wine that is being made but the process usually remains the same.
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The first step in making wine will involve the harvesting of the fruit. There is no wine without fruit and grapes is ideal because it produces the right amount of sugar necessary to yield sufficient alcohol. Wine is made in the vineyard both literally and figuratively because it provides a foundation for the whole process. It is for this reason why you should be looking for Niagara Vintage Wine Tours so as to appreciate the first and perhaps the most important step in making wine. For large-scale vineyards, the harvesting is usually done mechanically. There are some vineyards that will use a combination of machines and doing by hand.
After the grapes are harvested, they’ll be sorted in bunches before they’re de-stem and then crushed. Before the advent of machines, the crushing used to be done by feet. For anyone that has ever gone on a wine tour, crushing the grapes by feet is part of the whole experience. Most wineries do the crushing mechanically as there are advanced machines that are specifically tailored for the job. The crushing will turn the grapes into ‘must.’ This grape juice contains seeds, skins, and solids.
As much as a lot of winemakers will try to stay from machines when making wine, machines have led to increased sanitary conditions with the crushing process. It has greatly improved the quality of the grapes. For white wine, the solid and the seeds will be separate while red wine will include them. The solids allow for additional flavor and color to the wine.
This is the next step after the grapes have been crushed. Naturally, the must will start fermenting after 6 hours when yeast is added. Most winemakers will only add cultured yeast so that they’re in complete control of the final output of the fermentation process. This also helps with consistency as most people prefer their wine to taste in a particular way. The fermentation process will continue until the sugar turns into alcohol. For well-established wineries, the fermentation process can be left to happen naturally. For a sweet wine, the fermentation process will be halted at some stage so that not all the sugar is converting into alcohol. It can take up to a month for the whole fermentation process to be complete.
Clarification involves removing dead yeast, proteins, and tannins from the wine. The wine will be transferred into oak barrels or stainless steel for the clarification process. There is filtration to catch any solid particles in the wine. There are some wineries that will include clay in the clarification process so that the particles get something to stick to and settle at the bottom of the barrel. This makes it easy to filter the solids from the wine. Once the clarification is complete, the wine will then be transferred to another barrel for aging.
Aging and Bottling
These are the final steps in the wine-making process. There is the option of bottling the wine immediately or leaving it to age. The majority of winemakers will use oak barrels for aging as it results in a smoother and mature flavor to the wine. Steel tanks are usually preferred for white wine.
Making Wine at Home
Making wine at home could be a hit or miss. If you’re just starting out, the results are likely to be terrible. The more you do, the better you refine the process. Once you get good at it, you might find the quality is even better than what you’d get with bottled wine. Commercial winemakers will be working against the clock and might be forced to use chemicals and filters to hasten the production process. When you mike wine on your own, you’re in complete control of the production process. You have the time unlike commercial wineries and you can be assured of high-quality yield for the final product given the time it has taken.