Wine making has been around for as long as humankind can remember. And very little has changed about the process involved in making wine.
It starts with growing the best quality grapes and only harvesting the ones that are best fit to go into the wine a winery is planning to make. This is actually the longest and most arduous task in the process as growing the best quality grapes is not easy. It may take several generations before the perfect tasting grapes come to bear. This involves preparing the land properly as well as doing daily inspections to ensure that the grapes coming to fruition are perfect. It also takes a very experienced grape farmer or vineyard operator a good sense of knowing if he has the perfect fruits in hand.
Once satisfied, harvesting commences and this is actually considered to be the first step in a long process that eventually ends up in the bottle you’re enjoying right now.
There are 2 ways to go about this. It can either be done by hand or mechanically. Personally, I think hand picking the fruit is a better option as only the best grapes are plucked and de-stemmed immediately before going through the crushing process.
In ancient times, crushing was done by placing the grapes in a barrel and having enough people stepping on it to crush it. Nowadays, this can be done through the use of machines. Either way gets almost the same results.
It then goes into a primary fermentation process before being pressed again.
Pressing further separates the juice extract from the skin and other fleshy materials from the fruit. After that’s done, additional fermentation processes take place.
The extract is then placed into a vat and sits in storage for an extended period of time. This usually takes anywhere between 3 to 6 months for the wine to ferment properly. Although it is a long process, the resulting wine derived from these containers make it all worth the wait.
This doesn’t mean though that they’re just left there to sit without any active supervision on the part of the winemaker. Regular tasting is done to ensure that the proper fermentation process is taking place. And this has to be conducted for each vat present.
Some winemakers have taken a step further into modernizing the wine making process. Laboratory tests are done to make it a more scientific process to ensure uniformity for all vats involved. Some winemakers are still unwilling to embrace this process though and prefer to trust their instincts by tasting the wine periodically.
Once content that the contents of the vat are perfect, blending and fining is done. This is to improve the taste or to modify it to acquire a certain taste expected by the customers.
And then the preservatives are added. In this case, Sulfur Dioxide is the preferred preservative.
Finally, the finished product goes through a filtration process to ensure that it is pure.
All of these things happen before finally pouring the contents into a bottle and sealing it with a cork on top. A final dose of Sulfur Dioxide is added to ensure that no further fermentation occurs within the bottle.
Proper labelling then comes in and the wine is shipped off to the waiting customers who fully appreciate the taste of the finished product but don’t necessarily know the process it took to get that bottle in their hands.
So, the next time you enjoy a glass of wine, raise it to appreciate the efforts of everyone behind the creation of the wine you love!
It’s a long process but it’s all worth it in the end!