Making wine is fascinating. Winemakers (also known as Vintners) and their teams spend lots of time planning and preparing to execute precision to deliver the best tasting product to the market. Each step in the process is essential to the quality of the wine and requires the entire winery team.
Time to pick the grapes
This can be done by hand or by machine. If the process is done by machine the grapes must then be separated from the stems via another machine. Choosing the exact time to harvest is very important. The grapes must be the perfect level of sugar and acidity to produce the best product. This timing is selected by the winemaker.
Crushing, pressing and fermentation
The grapes must now be crushed and/or pressed to separate the skins from the meat of the fruit. For white wine the skins are removed but for red the skins may be left in the storage containers for color and tannins. The crushed grapes are now stored in large metal, plastic or wood containers for a period of time to allow the right levels of sweetness and alcohol to form.
Stabilization, bulk aging
Wine juice goes through a few processes to achieve the right balance of flavors, alcohol and acidity before bottling can take place. After the first fermentation, a winemaker will cool the grape juice down to stabilize the alcohol levels. Once the juice is stable and alcohol levels off over a few weeks, all juice is transferred to selected storage containers (metal tanks or wood barrels) to age. White wine is usually aged between 3 and 6 months, where red wine is usually aged from 12 to 24 months prior to bottling.
Filtering and bottling
The winemaker checks his wine consistently to make sure nothing goes wrong during the fermentation and aging process. The last thing a winemaker wants to happen is have his precious liquid produce any unwanted acidity or alcohol levels that can spoil the winemaking process. Once the winemaker approves, the wine is transferred from its storage container through a filtering system to remove any left over debris from the process into bottles. This bottling process can be done by hand or machine. Most wines have a small dose of sulfite added to preserve the wine in the bottle. Each bottle is then closed with a cork (wood or synthetic) or screw cap (called Stelvin caps by its originator) and moved the labeling process.
Labeling takes place after the wine has been transferred into its final container and stored in a cool place (below 60 degrees) until shipping off to stores for the consumers.
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