Learn How Wine is Made

The first step requires growing healthy, robust grapes suited to the type of wine desired. Many vineyards locate their vines in a hillside or hilltop. This allows for warmer winds and helps water roll away. Grapes aren't good if they get too much water. They need slightly arid, or moderately warm temperatures, for optimum taste.

When the grapes are ripe, they are harvested, either by hand or by a picking machine. This will depend on the size of the vineyard and how much help is available at harvest time. Some vineyards harvest the grapes at night, when the temperature is cooler. This helps maintain the integrity and flavor of the grapes. Sugar levels are more stable in slightly cooler temperatures.

The next step is to remove grapes from the stem and crush them. First, they are sorted by quality. this is usually done by hand. Stems may be removed by hand as well, though machines can also be used. The crushing process relies on a machine. When the crushing process is over, the grapes go through a press, to extract the juice. The juice is then sent to holding tanks. In the holding tanks, it takes some time for the sediment in the juice to settle on the bottom. When removed, the juice is then filtered, to make sure all sediment is removed. The only exception is that sometimes, the skin of red grapes is allowed to ferment with the juice.

The fermentation process is extremely important. This is where the juice turns into wine. Usually, yeast is added to vats of juice, to speed up fermentation. In the case of some red grapes, the skins and juice ferment together, then the grapes are pressed. After fermenting, the wine is racked, where it is allowed to age in barrels, or in stainless steel vats.

Finally, wine is bottled for distribution and consumption. Some wines are ready for bottling in a few months. Most will age for at least a year or two. The drier, red wines require more time to age. People who appreciate the lengthy process are likely to enjoy many different wine varieties.