Wine is an alcoholic beverage produced through the partial or total fermentation of grapes. Wine is made in a variety of flavors, with varying degrees of sweetness or dryness as well as alcoholic strength and quality. Generally, the strength, color, and flavor of the wine are controlled during the fermentation process. Unlike the large-sized wineries, small family owned wineries use hand operated presses and store wine in musty wine cellars. The wine making process can be divided into three distinct steps: harvesting and crushing grapes; fermenting must and ageing the wine.
Harvesting and crushing grapes
- Inspect sample clusters of wine grapes with a refractometer to determine if the grapes are ready to be picked and check the amount of sugar in the grapes. If the grapes are ready for picking, a suction picker hand picks grapes and funnels the grapes into a field hopper. And than deliver newly crushed grapes to wineries. The field hoppers are transported to the winery where they are unloaded into a crusher-stemmer machine. The grapes are crushed and the stems are removed, leaving liquid must that flows either into a stainless steel fermentation tank or a wooden vat.
Fermenting the newly crushed grapes
- For white wine, all the grape skins are separated from the newly crushed grapes by filters or centrifuges before the must undergoes fermentation. For red wine, the whole crushed grape, including the skin, goes into the fermentation tank or vat. The amount of time the skins are left in the tank or vat determines how dark or light the color will be. For rosé, the skins only stay in the tank or vat for a short time before they are filtered out.
- During the fermentation process, wild yeast are fed into the tank or vat to turn the sugar in the must into alcohol. To add strength, varying degrees of yeast may be added. In addition, cane or beet sugar may be added to increase the alcoholic content
Ageing the wine
- Store wine in damp, subterranean wine cellars to keep the wine cool. The wine is Then pumped into racking vats. The wine will remain in the tank for one to two months. Typically, racking is done at 10-16°C for red wine, and 0°C for white wine.
- After the initial racking process, certain wines are pumped into another settling tank or vat where the wine remains for another two to three months. After the settling process, the wine passes through a number of filters or centrifuges where the wine is stored at low temperatures or where clarifying substances trickle through the wine.
- After various filtering processes, the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks or wooden vats. Small Family own wineries store their wine in wooden barrels in damp wine cellars. White and rose wines may age for a year to five years. Red wines may age for five to ten years.