You may have a general idea of what goes into making wine, but what exactly does the process involve? If you’ve ever wondered just how wine is made and what red and white wines are made from, then read on to find out.
How wine is made
If you’re wondering what wine is made out of, the answer is grapes. If you’ve ever driven through the countryside and seen fields of grapevines in their neat and tidy rows, then you have seen a working vineyard where wine is made. More specifically, if you’ve ever wondered about the difference between red and white wine and what red wine is made from, all you need to look at is the colour of the grapes. White wine is made from white grapes, and red wine is made from red grapes.
The 5 steps of how wine is made
1. Harvest the grapes
When it comes to how wine is made, the first step is picking the grapes. However, getting the timing right when picking grapes is absolutely crucial. Different grapes prefer different climates, and ensuring that they are harvested before the weather gets too hot or too cold is essential. So the right time to pick the grapes is largely dependent on the location of the vineyard, the time of year, the weather, the length of the growing season, and the size and colour of the grapes. All of these factors can affect the taste of the grape, and therefore the wine. For many Australian winemakers and farmers, knowing when to pick grapes comes down to a mix of experience, intuition and science.
2. Crush the grapes
When you think of crushing grapes, you might imagine a giant barrel filled with grapes being stomped on by enthusiastic workers. Today, much more effective methods are used in most wineries. Enter the de-stemmer machine — a great piece of modern technology that is capable of removing grape stems, seeds and skins before crushing the grapes into juice. To create white wine, the skins and seeds are removed to prevent any colour from entering the final product. To make red wine, the grape skins are always left on.
3. Let the wine ferment
The third step in how wine is made is fermentation. The fermentation process is what determines the wine’s taste. During fermentation, the sugar within the crushed grape juice is converted into alcohol. Red wines tend to be fermented in warmer temperatures compared to white wines and are usually left to ferment until all the sugar is converted into alcohol. White wines are sometimes left to ferment until all the sugar is converted, but sweet wine varieties, such as Moscato, are interrupted before all the sugars are converted.
4. Allow the wine to age properly
Ageing helps the wine develop its flavour further, and the time spent ageing can vary from a few months to a few years. This will depend on factors such as the location and the type of grapes being aged, but also the end result that the winemaker wishes to achieve.
Fermented wine is placed into special barrels to let it age. Most wine barrels are made from stainless steel or oak. Working out the exact amount of time needed to age wine to perfection is essential, as too little or too much can ruin the flavour and quality of the wine.
5. The wine is now ready to be bottled
After going through a filtration process to remove any last unwanted particles, the wine is finally ready to be bottled. Right before the wine is corked (or, in most cases, has the metal lid affixed), a small amount of nitrogen or carbon dioxide is added to displace any oxygen that might still be inside the bottle. Oxygen needs to be removed as it can be detrimental to the quality of the wine, resulting in a flat flavour and a change in colour.
How to store, display and age your wine collection
As you can see, the winemaking process is complex and can take time. With this in mind, you want to make sure that the bottles you have invested in are correctly cared for.If you’re looking for stylish yet functional ways to store, display and age your wine properly, make sure you check out our collection of premium wine racks, wine cubes and bespoke wine storage solutions. Order online at Wine Stash today.