Fortunately we've all been born in an era in which we can be reassured that our wine didn't spend it's early days being squished beneath some man's toes, but do you know how your favourite wines are currently made? I bet you don't. Well, since it's English Wine Week, there's no better time to get our readers informed on how it's all produced.
Step One: Flavour Extraction
The delicious aroma and flavour needs to be extracted from the fruit prior to any other step in wine-making. This is something that can be achieved by crushing, chopping, boiling, pressing and soaking the grapes. Prior to performing any one of these actions, fruit must be thoroughly prepared. On certain occasions, grapes are peeled and the seeds are taken out, though doing this is not integral to the procedure. Prior to the extraction, all grapes that possess brown spots or suggestions of rot or mold are pushed out of the wine-making process.
Step Two: Additional Ingredients
Once their has been flavour extraction, the grape compound needs to be shielded from mold, oxidation and bacteria to sustain the wine's quality and life. For instance, sulfites are added to protect against oxidation, mold and bacteria. To assist in the disintegration of the grapes cell walls, pectic enzymes are added that make it easier to extract the flavors and aromas in aged wine. A natural compound found in the majority of fruit skins include tannins, which create the familiar wine "bite". Alot of red wines have a sufficient quantity of natural tannins, but alot of white wines actually need additional tannins to be added during the wine-making process. A lot of wines, finally, require additional water or yeast to be added to the compound of the grape, to provide fermentation assistance.
Step Three: Fermentation
Prior to fermentation, the liquid needs to be strained from the pulp of the grape. This liquid gets tipped into a secondary vessel that aids in fermentation, such as a jug or a carboy. It is then fitted with airlock in the vessel's mouth. The process is delicate, as the wine cannot be given exposure to much oxygen due to prospective damage of the final product. Meticulous funnelling of grape pulp minimises the quantities of oxygen added to wine. Taking place at 60-65 degrees, the fermentation process continues for about several days which sometimes stretches into weeks, or until the bubbling of the liquid comes to a halt.
Step Four: Racking
During the fermentation process, as the wine sits, yeast sediments deposit in the bottom of the fermentation vessel. In the bottom of the vessel, whenever fresh deposits are made visible, wine has to be racked. Racking is a purifying process that involves siphoning the wine from the sediments. Finally, the wine is put into another vessel for fermentation, with an airlock that is placed in it's mouth. Every few weeks, the racking process can be cautiously repeated, as thie step is only wholly complete when there is no longer sediment that appears at the vessel's bottom.
Step Five: Bottling the Wine
After the completion of the fermentation process, wine is siphoned into secure cork bottles. Standing upright for 3-5 days, the bottles are turned on their sides to be stored at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. White wine has to stay in storage for a minimum of six months, whilst red wine really should not be sampled until the passing of a year. Following an appropriate duration of time in storage, wine is tasted to make sure that it is of a sufficient quality. If it is satisfactory when sampled, the wine is ready to be shipped, sold and savoured by wine-lovers all over.