You know you love it, but do you know how it’s made? Checkout the science behind wine and winemaking in these 5 steps of the wine production process.
STEP ONE: Harvesting
The first step in the wine production process is to harvest the grapes. Did you know that grapes are the only fruit that contain the necessary acids, tannins, and esters required to make wine? Harvesting them can either be done by hand or for mass production, removed by a machine.
STEP TWO: Squashing
The destemmer, a winemaking machine, removes the stems from the clusters and lightly crushes the grapes. Once crushed, the grapes are transferred into a press for the next step.
- WHITE: White wine is generally made with white grapes and the skins are removed before the fermentation process.
- RED: Red wine is made with darker grapes and the skins remain on the grape for the fermentation process.
STEP THREE: Fermentation
When aided with yeast in the air, the fermentation process naturally begins within 6-12 hours. This is the most vital part of the wine production process and will take place until all the sugar is converted into alcohol and dry wine is produced.
- SWEET: To produce sweet wine, the process is stopped before all the sugar has been converted into alcohol.
STEP FOUR: Clarification
Solids such as yeast cells, tannins, and proteins are removed from the wine in a filtration process, that occurs by using a filter to gather the larger particles. The clarified wine is then transferred into a vessel for bottling.
STEP FIVE: Bottling and Aging
Wine can be aged in bottles, stainless steel tanks, or oak barrels, and are generally bottled with a cork or screw cap for the aging process. Flavors within the wine become more intense due to multiple aging choices such as; several years vs. months, aging in stainless steel vs. oak, in new oak vs. ‘neutral’ or used barrels, in American oak vs. French oak, or aging in various levels of ‘toasted’ barrels.
Also, check out “How to be a Better Wine Taster” now that you know how wine is made!
Learn more about the science behind wine at Science Uncorked on November 9th.