The first stage in the wine making process is to crush
the grapes. In days gone by the grapes would be loaded
into a large vat and the wine maker(s) would gently
tread on them to break the grapes' skins to release
Nowadays this procedure is almost
invariably carried out using a machine called, unsurprisingly,
In the case of white wines, after
crushing, the juice is separated immediately from the
pulp of skins and stalks and fermentation commences.
When making red (and rose) wines,
the juice is allowed to remain in contact with the crushed
pulp for a while to add color, body and flavor to the
'must' (the juice to be fermented).
Most modern wines are fermented
at a relatively low temperature (around 20C), which
results in wine with a fruity character. White wines
are commonly made in large, cooled, stainless steel
containers but some better quality wines are fermented
in oak casks or, alternatively, oak chippings may be
added to the must.
Red and rose wines are usually
produced in stainless steel vats or, sometimes, in oak.
When the fermenting wine has reached the required color
intensity, the liquid is drawn from the vessel, leaving
behind the crushed skins and stalks.
Before bottling, wines from different
batches may be blended together and matured. Depending
on the type of wine, the length of this maturation process
can be measured in anything from days to years.
If an "oaky" flavor is desired
then the wine can be matured in oak barrels. New oak
or old oak barrels can be used depending on the final
Even after bottling, the flavor
of some quality wines will continue to evolve, albeit
at a slower rate. However nowadays, most wines, even
expensive wines, are ready for drinking soon after bottling.
About The Author:
Since Neil Best first asked:
who made the first wine? he's been recording his findings
This article is part of the free Good Glug Wine Appreciation
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