Did you know that the oldest wine bottle is called the Speyer wine bottle? Historians have clocked it to be made in between 325–350 AD.
For thousands of years, people have been producing wine. At its most basic level, Wine production is a natural process that needs very little human involvement.
Mother Nature supplies everything required to create wine. It is up to people to enhance, develop, or destroy what she has given, as anybody who has had significant wine tasting experience will testify.
People recognized that interfering at certain moments throughout the fermentation process might produce a wine with more predictable qualities. The production of wine is an industrial process.
Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the wine-making process. We’ll start with the harvesting stage and make our way to packaging.
The Foundational Step of Wine Production: Harvesting Grapes
Although the winemaking procedure for red and white wines differed somewhat, necessitating distinct production lines, the winemaking method for both kinds was comparable.
Farmers can harvest grapes manually or mechanically—each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Nevertheless, hand-harvesting offers much more benefits in terms of wine quality.
Only the finest grape clusters are harvested by hand. At the same time, machine cultivation cannot distinguish between a rotting and a good grape.
Though time-consuming, hand-harvesting ensures that only the picking of the finest grapes. This results in greater quality and a higher price tag owing to the additional human work. People harvest more grapes using mechanical cultivation. This saving the winery and the buyer money.
How Wine Is Made: Crushing and Pressing
The next stage in the winemaking process is to crush entire clusters of fresh ripe grapes. There was the time-honored practice of trampling or trodding the grapes. But, now it’s usually referred to wine as automated crushers now carry out must.
We’ve forgotten the romanticism and ritual of winemaking due to the use of mechanical presses. Change, like everything else in life, entails both a loss and a gain. Still, the enormous hygienic benefit offsets this that mechanical pressing provides to winemaking.
Mechanical pressing has enhanced the quality and durability of wine. In contrast, decreasing the need for preservatives on the winemaker. Having said that, it’s worth noting that not all wine starts in a crusher.
Before pressing the uncrushed clusters, winemakers may opt to allow fermentation to commence. Specifically within uncrushed whole grape groupings. This allows the starting weight of the grapes and the start of fermentation to rupture the skins of the grapes.
The processes for producing white and red wine are basically the same until crushing and pressing. However, when making white wine, a winemaker would rapidly press. It’s a must after crushing to separate the juice from the skins, seeds, and particles.
You’ll want to get more information on Malbec, as it’s one of the best wines to pair with the majority of your meals.
Unwanted color (which originates from the grape peel, not the juice) and tannins are prevented from leaching into the white wine.
In essence, white wine has minimal skin contact. Red wine is left in touch with its skins throughout fermentation to get a color, taste, and more tannins, which is the following stage.
The Fermenting Stage
All grapes are typically trucked to the winery after harvesting for crushing. The squeezed juice, or “must,” was pumped or gravity-fed into enormous temperature-controlled concrete, steel, or wood fermentation tanks. This is where natural and/or introduced yeast metabolizes the grapes’ sugar to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide.
Fermentation took one to five weeks on average. Higher-quality wines are generally less mechanized and produced in smaller quantities. Wines of a lower quality are produced in greater quantities and are more “formula” based.
To ensure quality control, high-end premium manufacturers kept grapes from various farmers in separate fermenting tanks. Jug winemakers utilized large, communal vats to collect grapes from many farmers.
The Nuances of the Wine Production Process: Aging the Wine
Wine must be kept, filtered, and aged correctly after crushing and fermentation. In certain cases, you must mix the wine with another alcoholic beverage. To keep wine cold, many vineyards still store it in damp, underground basements, while bigger wineries increasingly store it above ground in epoxy lined and stainless steel storage tanks.
The temperature of the tanks is maintained by water that flows inside the tank shell’s liner. When wine is temporarily kept during the settling process, other comparable tanks are utilized instead of the original redwood and concrete vats.
With fresh oak notes like leather, sweet vanilla, tobacco, and spices. Like clove, anise, cinnamon, or pepper, aging the wine for the appropriate length of time produces a more accessible wine. This is accurate, especially in red wines with a lot of tannins. Many wine connoisseurs like the tastes and smells that wood produces. During barrel aging, the wine softens. Long-term aging allows the wine to oxidize in a regulated way progressively.
The Bottling and Packaging
More sulfates are added to the wine before bottling to prevent further fermentation in the bottle. The wine is then sealed with corks or screw caps, with a capsule added to make the seal tighter.
In recent years, wine labeling has grown more essential. Wine is sold by appealing labels, regardless of whether the wine is excellent or not. A book’s cover may be attractive, but it is not always a good book. The same is true for wine; a beautiful label on a bottle of wine may conceal a low-quality product.
Ready to Start Sampling the Best Wines?
If you’re new to the wide world of wines, it can be rather overwhelming to go through the wine production process from start to finish.
But, we hope that our guide has shed some light on the beautiful world of fragrant wine production. If you’re looking for additional tips and tricks, you can check out our lifestyle section. It has a variety of blogs on the different wine pairings that can truly elevate your dining experience.