Wine has been around for centuries. Earliest known history already has accounts of people enjoying wine with their meals. The making of wine is both an art and science; from the very start of the history of wine until today – the process of every winemaker differs from each other. The reason for this is because aside from the natural process of winemaking, the human touch also contributes to what makes every wine unique and sought after.
The natural process
The only fruit that has the necessary acids to make wine are grapes. The timing of the picking of grapes greatly affects the whole process and outcome of wine making.
Harvesting depends on the weather for the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. You don’t want to have wine with too bitter a taste. After the grapes are harvested, they will be sorted out with the rotten and under-ripe ones removed.
- Crushing and Pressing
After the grapes are sorted, they will be de-stemmed and crushed. During the early days, crushing was done by feet, now the winemakers use machines to do the crushing.
For white wine, the grapes are crushed to get the juice and are quickly separated from the skin. Red wine on the other hand is done by leaving the juice in contact with the skin in order to acquire the flavor and color.
After being crushed and pressed, the juice is left for fermenting. It can begin fermenting naturally within 6-12 hours when there is yeast in the air. However, sometimes, winemakers directly add commercial yeast to the juice to aid the fermentation process.
Fermentation converts the sugar in the grapes and turns it into alcohol. The process is done when all the sugar is converted, or when the winemakers decide to make sweet wine and stop the process before all the sugar is converted. This process usually takes anywhere from 10 days to a month or more.
This is where the solids such at the skin, dead yeast cells, tannins, and protein are removed. The clarified wine is then placed in oak barrels and racks.
- Aging or bottling
This is where the winemakers differ. They can choose to bottle the wine right after the clarification, or they can choose to let it age.
Zesty white wines are aged using steel barrels while red wines are best aged on oak barrels, to make sure it ages smoother and rounder.
The Human Process
This is where the “personality” of wine comes in. Modern wine producers are creating more and more innovation as they enter the winemaking industry. The best ones are not shackled by conventional rules; they are wild, free, adventurous, and eager. This makes for the best equation in creating better and more unique wines.
Award giving bodies like Young Gun Of A Wine are always on the lookout for winemakers with fresh ideas. Age is not necessarily an issue as they have had some entries from people over 40 that gave them a lot of fresh ideas.
Cliff Gant was born in Australia but has been in several countries in his goal to find the “best wine technique.” He owns a winemaking startup and is open to fresh ideas he learns while he travels.