3 minutes read
The wine in the bottle you’re drinking, how is it made? Red, white, rose & even sparkling wine is made in different ways. Here the way red wine is made.
When the wine maker thinks the grapes of fully grown, the harvest starts. This can be done by machine or by hand, with the latter to most expensive. All the grapes are collected in crates and transferred to the winery ASAP.
When arrived at the winery, the grapes are emptied on a conveyor belt & checked by people for removal of any rotten grapes. The good grapes will then fall into the destemmer, a machine that split the grapes from their stem. The perfect looking grapes will then be transferred into the fermentation vessel.
The grapes are all put together in the fermentation vessel. Here fermentation takes place where the temperature is between 20C-32C. Some grapes will ferment themselves, as the skin of the grapes contain natural yeast. The wine maker can decide to add yeast, creating this natural occurrence whereby the yeast will eat the sugars in the grapes, resulting in alcohol (& heat).
The alcohol helps to extract the tannins, colour & flavours from the skins. To get the right colour, the wine maker can use the Pumped-Over (pumping wine from the bottom of the tank back over the skins) or Punched-Down (punching down the floating skin back into the juice) method to keep the juice in contact with the skins. The time for fermentation range from a couple of days to 2 weeks for the more bolder reds.
When the wine maker thinks the right colour & level of tannins is reached, he opens the tap at the bottom of the vessel & let the juice flow out, which is called Free Run Wine. The leftovers is a mix of skins & juice. This will be pressed (Press Wine), containing a darker colour & is higher in tannins. This juice is used to mix with the Free Run Wine to create the wine style the wine maker wants. All the juice is then transferred to mature.
The juice can mature in different barrels or vats. Common methods are the use of wooden barrels, stainless steel tanks, or concrete eggs. During the maturation a chemical reaction occurs in the wine. When matured in oak, oxygen will ‘’breath’’ through the veins of the oak barrel. The wine will smoothen out & develop flavours like toffee, nuts or coffee. The time of maturation can differ from a couple of months to years.
When matured in airtight stainless steel tanks or concrete eggs, nothing much in the wine will change. When this wine is bottled, the chemical reaction will continue & will turn the fresh fruity flavours in more cooked ones, as the volume of the wine in a bottle is smaller than in tank.
Filtration is used to make the wine bright and clear & to remove any microbial spoilage.
The final stage is to bottle the red wine, label the bottle & ship it off to the thirsty wine lovers across the world. Like mentioned before, the wine is still ‘’alive’’ & inside the chemical reaction will continue until the wine is drunk.