Wine is a beverage that people all around the world enjoy — in fact, in 2016 alone, an average of 2.94 gallons of wine were consumed by each individual person. So you may love wine, but do you know how it gets made? To help you further appreciate your next glass of wine, let’s explore the winemaking process.
First, we start with grapes. After a vine has been growing for about three years, it starts producing grapes. Winemakers will decide when to harvest the grapes depending on the levels of acidity and sweetness in the grapes. This ultimately determines the flavors in the wines. Once harvesting begins, which is usually done by hand, the grapes are put into bunches.
After the grapes are harvested, they’re then crushed. This process is usually done with machines to make it easier, quicker, and to ensure the grapes are pressed evenly. For red wines, like pinot noir, the skins are kept in the mixture to add color and flavor.
Fermentation is the part of the winemaking process that makes the wine alcoholic. Fermentation occurs when a yeast culture forms, consumes the sugar from the crushed grapes, and transforms it into alcohol. Yeast cultures can be found naturally in the grape mixture but some may also be added in order to control the flavor of the finished product. Fermentation can take a few days or a few months, depending on the wine that is being made. Additionally, sweeter wines may end the fermentation process early to keep some of the sugar intact. Ad the temperature of fermentation may vary between red wines and white wines.
The next step is filtering for clarification. This is exactly what it sounds like — solids like proteins and dead yeast cells are filtered out of the liquid. Filtration can be done by using a filter or adding substances to the wine that attract unwanted solids, which can then be easily removed.
And lastly, the wine is finally bottled. Bottling can either be done as soon as the wine is ready or the wine can be aged for better, stronger flavors.
So there you have it — there is a lot of time and effort that goes into making wine. So next time you’re enjoying a glass of pinot noir at one of your favorite wineries, you may appreciate it just a bit more.