Wine Making: From Grape to Glass

Wine is a very popular drink choice for many people. However, many of them don’t actually know what goes into the wine making process. The process is actually quite interesting, and pretty different from other drinks such as beer

Wine Making: Start to Finish

Grape picking & crushing

The first part of the wine making process involves picking the grapes. Many vineyards these days use machines to speed the process up, but some still do their picking by hand. Workers will then place the grapes into containers, and ship them off further into the vineyard.

Once the grapes arrive at the wine production centers, workers will help crush them. Usually, workers will sort out any bad grapes, and send the rest to the aptly named destemmer, which removes the grape stems. Finally, workers toss the grapes into a crusher, which removes the skins and seeds and presses the grapes into juice. The exception is with red grapes, which go to the vats with their skin intact.

Grape fermentation

After a vineyard has grape juice, they need to ferment it as part of the wine making process. Fermenting itself is a relatively simple process. At its core, it involves converting the sugar in the juice into alcohol. How that is done depends on the wine being made.

For both red and white wines, vineyards will add yeast to kick-start fermentation. However, for red wines, the process will cause their skins to rise up to the top of the vats. Due to this, workers will “press” the vat a bit to keep the skin in contact with the grapes.

Aging

Before being sent to a bottle, there’s one more wine making step that occurs: aging. Again, while aging may seem simple, it actually has a lot of variables. For instance, vineyards have to figure out what how long to age the wine, the type of container to use, potential wood barrel types, and many more factors.

However, once a wine has aged, then a vineyard can bottle it. Most “common” white wines are ready after a few months, while “common” red wines tend to need around 12-18 months. As for more expensive wines, vineyards will age them for years and years at a time.