how it’s made: RED WINE BASICS

Do You Know How Red Wine is Made?

Here are the Basics from Harvest to Bottling:⠀

Harvest & Sorting⠀⠀
Grapes can be harvested by hand or machine depending on a number of factors, like preference, quality, terrain, timing, etc.

The fruit is either sorted in the vineyard as it’s being picked; later on at the estate; or both! Sorting – like harvesting – can also be done by hand or machine. ⁠⠀⠀
The Crush⠀
Grapes are crushed and put into fermentation vessels. De-stemming the grapes before crushing them is optional; this process is carried out to reduce harsh unwanted vegetal tannin.⁠⠀⠀
Fermentation⁠, Maceration & Pressing⠀
Natural yeast (from the skin of the grapes), or cultured yeast (deliberately grown and freeze-dried in commercial labs and added to grape must in a process called inoculation) consumes the sugar in the must, turning it into alcohol. In the making of red wines, juice is usually left to ferment until all of the sugar is converted, resulting in a dry wine.

Red wine gets it’s colour from the grape skins during fermentation and maceration.⁠ The must is usually pressed (to separate the juice from the skins, seeds & stems) after a certain number of days OR at the end of fermentation – depending on the style of wine desired.

Fine, Filter, Bottle.⁠⠀⠀
An ageing period of 4 months to 4 years is common for red wines to undergo before bottling. During this time wines may be ‘fined’ and filtered, depending on the preference of the winemaker.⁠⠀⠀
Fining is an optional clarifying process in which agents like bentonite (powdered clay), egg whites, gelatine, isinglass (fish bladder), or casein (milk protein) are added to the wine to combine with sediment particles. This weighs the particles down causing them to settle at the bottom of the vessel, where they can later be removed. *These fining agents are one of the reasons why not all wines are vegan.⁠⠀⠀
Filtration is another optional clarifying/stabilising procedure. Here, wine is pumped through a pad or screen to eliminate leftover grape material and fermentation particles.⁠⠀⠀
Time to Bottle!⠀
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