Wine Making Basics

wine-making-equipment
wine-making-equipment

In general, every harvest includes these basic vine-to-wine steps:

  1. Pick the grapes
  2. Crush the grapes
  3. Ferment the grapes into wine
  4. Age the wine
  5. Bottle the wine

Pick the grapes

  • The grapes are collected in bins
  • The grapes are either cut from the vine by human hands (we obtain whole bunches) or they are removed by a machine (only grapes, no stems). This affects quality, different varieties, their skin thickness,  vary in suitability for machine harvest.

Crush the grapes

  • White Wine: The white grapes are transferred into a pneumatic press. The grapes are pressed to extract the juice and leave behind the grape skins. The juice is then transferred into tanks where it settles, clarifies. After a settling period, the juice is then “racked”, which means it’s filtered out of the settling tank into another tank before fermentation starts.
  • Red Wine: Red wine grapes are commonly destemmed and lightly crushed. Grapes, along with their skins, go straight into a vat to start fermentation on their skins. This is what imparts the red color into red wine

Fermentation

  • it is a transformation of grape sugars, glucose and fructose, into alcohol by yeast Saccharomyces, in the process CO2 and heat is released
  • red and white wines: natural yeast or commercial yeast is added to the vats
  • red wines: CO2 is released during fermentation which causes the grape skins to rise to the surface forming cap, pump overs or punch downs are used to help extraction, skin contact
  • red wines: the grapes are pressed after fermentation is complete. After racking to clarify the wine, the reds will spend several months aging in barrels.

Ageing of wine

  • Aging for several years vs. several months
  • Aging in stainless steel vs. oak American or French

Bottling

  • When the winemaker feels a wine has reached its full expression in aging, then it’s time to bottle the wine for consumption