Winemaking is an ancient craft, which needs little human intervention. This craft requires patience and technique. The five main components of making wine remain the same except variation among different makers. Let’s look at some of the methods of making wine:
Harvesting is the first process of making wine. In this phase, we must harvest good quality grapes from the grape yard. There are different methods of picking grapes, such as mechanical and by hand. Seasoned makes prefer picking by hand as it is less damaging to the vines and an adequately selected bunch can produce better quality wine. The selected grapes are then sorted based on their quality and condition, under and over ripened grapes are avoided. The vines should be harvested in the right weather, and at the right flavour note, it should be the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.
Making of ‘Must’
After the grapes are harvested, they are removed from their stems and seeds, then they are crushed to a pulp, and this pulp is called ‘must’. Since ancient times wine has been made by men and women who stomp on the grapes to pulp it, as we transitioned into modern times, this has been changed to a mechanical process and the concerns regarding sanitation slowly faded. The must which is made from mechanised methods were much smoother and consistent.
After we make the must, we move on to the process of fermenting it. This process starts by keeping the wine in a container and leaving it till the yeast in the air begins to activate the sugar present in the must, sometimes the makers add industrial yeast to fasten up the process and get better control of it. This process takes a total of 10 to 45 days, the longer it is kept, the better the quality of it. The wine is sometimes stopped in between to prevent all the sugars from being converted to alcohol when this happens; the wine retains some of its sweetness.
Fining or Filtration
After the wine is fermented for some time, the next process is to clarify it. This step is where they remove the solids such as the pulp and the yeast particles until only the liquid remains. There are two types of clarification, fining and filtration. Fining is the process of making the solids adhere to clay particles which settle to the bottom. Filtration is the process by which a filter to remove the solids and let the liquid pass through. After the process of clarification, they are sealed into a container.
Ageing and Packaging
The wines can be aged in three ways, in a bottle, an oak barrel and a steel container, all three of them have their traits to it. The Oak barrel will produce a rounder vanilla flavoured wine, while the steel containers give a zesty taste.