How to Make Wine?
This week learn all the process of winemaking with Fancy Academy. What are all the steps from the vineyard to the bottle?
The first step of wine making is picking. One of the most crucial decisions for the winemaker to make is to know when to start the harvest. Choosing this perfect moment is a bit tricky. Grapes need to be ripe for quality wine, at the same time if they stay too long on the vines, the grapes has more chance to be damaged due to cold weather or disease.
They usually start picking sparkling wine grape then white wine grapes, red wine grapes and finally iced wine grapes.
There is two way to pick wine grapes hand-picked or by mechanical harvesters. A worker can pick about 2 tons of grapes within 8 hours whereas machinery can harvest between 80 to 200 tons of grapes in 8 hours. However, using mechanical method increase the potential damage done to grapes.
Once the grapes have been picked, the winemaker will extract their juice. First grapes get de-stemmed then crushed. The juice extracted is called wine must. In general, winemakers use machinery that very gently crushe the grapes without crushing seeds. If the seed is crushed it can lead to far too much tannin. For sparkling wine, the winemaker will skip this step and the grapes will go through something called whole-cluster pressing. Sometimes pressing occurs as a final step, which aims to squeeze as much juice out of the grape as possible.
Did you know? Whether grapes are red or white, the juice you get from pressing is white. Red wine gets its color while the juice ferments (next step!) with the red grape skins.
Fermentation is when juice is housed in a vessel (such as oak barrels or stainless steel tanks) and is exposed to yeast and heat. The yeast's job is to eat the sugars in the juice and convert it to alcohol and CO2. Of course, the CO2 doesn't stay in the fermenting juice (otherwise you'd have a carbonated beverage, like sparkling wine); it's simply released into the air.
Innovation: In the 1950s and 1960s, stainless steel fermentation tanks rocked the wine producing world; they were easily cleaned, prevented bacterial growth and could help control the temperature of fermenting wine.
After fermentation, the wine is transferred in another vessel such as oak barrel to begin the aging process. Letting the wine age for a specific amount of time can make all the difference to the final product.
Red wine aged in new oak tend to smell and taste like sweet, vanilla, cinnamon and pepper.
All about the oak: When wineries use oak barrels to age their wine, three types of oak are used: American oak, French oak and Hungarian oak. Vintners will select which kind of oak they want to use depending on what kind of qualities they want their wine to have.
As it's aging in the oak barrels, vintners will taste-test at regular intervals. Once they've determined their wine has aged the right amount of time, it's then off for the final step before hitting the shelves...
But that doesn't mean they're ready for actual consumption. Depending on the style, the wine may be ready to drink, or may require even a little more aging in the bottle. For example, the Spanish are famous for aging their wines before release. The Rioja Gran Reservas requires a minimum of 24 months in the oak barrels and another 36 months in the bottle! Needless to say, that excellent beverage in your hands is likely the result of a passionate process involving calculation, precision and much fine-tuning. Drink and bask in its glory.
Now that you know everything about the process of wine making, let’s enjoy some good wine with your digital sommelier PetitFancy.
Your Fancy Team