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What is Wine?

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made with the fermented juice of grapes; mostly wine grapes which differ from regular table grapes. Some people typically associate wine solely with grapes but technically, it can be also produced from other fruits like apple, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.

However, grapes have become the standard for wines for two main reasons. First, a specific acid found in grapes preserves the juice for decades or even centuries. Second, unlike other fruits grapes c0ntain higher levels of sugar that translate to a stronger wine.

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How Wine is Made?

Steps in the harvesting process will vary in time, technique and technology. But more often than not, every wine harvest includes these basic vine-to-wine process.

Types of Wine

Wines can be grouped into these six primary categories: white wines, red wines, rosé wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines and fortified wines.

The Taste of Wine

Several scientific and geographic factors play a role in creating wine's unique flavor. And this is just the beginning of what makes wine what it is.

Wine Basics

Must know terms for every wine enthusiast and inquirer: acidity, sweetness, alcohol, tannin, and aromas produced in fermentation.

How Wine is Made?

1

 Pick the grapes

The grapes are either collected during the day or at night by manual shearing or through machinery. These are collected in bins or lugs and then transported to the crushing pad. This is where the process of turning grapes into juice and wine begins. 

2

Crush the grapes

All harvested grapes are eventually crushed in the next step. The destemmer and press, which are winemaking machineries that execute exactly what their name implies, the destemmer removes the stems from the clusters and the press lightly crushes the grapes.

3

Fermentation of grapes into wine

Fermentation is where the sugar is converted into alcohol. Some winemakers even use yeast nutrients to bolster the fermentation. Red wine grapes are fermented with their skin, which transfers the red color into red wine. Otherwise, red grapes would also make a white wine. 

4

Age the wine

Winemakers are given the freedom to approach this step depending on what type or flavor of wine would they want to create. Flavors of wine become diversified and intense based on the winemaking choice: duration, oak type, oak barrels and preference of toasted barrel.

Types of Wine

Made from red grape varieties. These wines get their color by allowing the skin of the grapes to get contact with the grape juice during the wine making process. The most popular red wines are:


- Cabernet Sauvignon

- Merlot

- Pinot Noir

It contains little or no red pigmentation. These wines are usually made from white grapes, but can be made from black grapes as well. Winemakers can make white wine from black grapes because the juice in most black grapes is actually clear. The most popular varieties are:


- Chardonnay

- Riesling

- Sauvignon Blanc

Pink in color and can be referred to as rosé, pink or blush wines. Made from black grapes, but don’t fully turn red because the grape skins are removed from the juice mere hours after contact. It can be also made by blending together white and red wines. The most popular wine variety is:


- Zinfandel

Sparkling wines are made from most varieties of grapes. These wines contain carbon dioxide bubbles - carbon dioxide that occurs naturally during fermentation. Champagne is known to be the most famous sparkling wine in many regions in the world. The famous sparkling wines are:


- Rose Champagne

- Sparkling Red Wine

Wines which have a high sugar content, making them a popular choice with or as dessert. They can be made sweet from many different ways, such as harvesting the grapes very late when sugar levels are high or drying the grapes on straw mats to concentrate the sugars.

Wine that have Brandy or other spirits added to the juice during fermentation. The Brandy prematurely stops the fermentation process, thus leaving a high amount of sugar in the wine. 


- Ice Wine

- Late Harvest Rieslings

- Port

- Sherry

The Taste of Wine

People's interest in wine is largely focused on its taste, but it probably wouldn't taste very good if it were simply a matter of leaving jugs of grape juice in your basement for a couple of months. There are a lot of different factors which go into creating each wine's unique taste:

  • Grape variety
  • Blending varieties together
  • Fermentation time
  • Fermentation container (wood, steel)
  • Time length of contact with grape skins
  • Maturation time
  • Maturation container

There are the geographical factors which, taken all together, the French call terroir:


  • Soil type
  • Topography (steepness of the slopes)
  • Weather conditions
  • Farming techniques

Wine Basics

Wine as a beverage lies on the acidic end of the pH scale ranging from as low as 2.5 (lemon) to as high as 4.5 (greek yoghurt). Wine tastes tart.

source: http://winefolly.com/review/what-is-wine/

Depending on what style of wine you drink, sweetness in wine ranges from having no sugar at all to sweet like maple syrup. The term “dry” refers to a wine without sweetness.

source: http://winefolly.com/review/what-is-wine/

The taste of alcohol is spicy, palate-coating and warms the back of your throat. Wine’s average range of alcohol is about 10% ABV (alcohol by volume) to 15% ABV.

source: http://winefolly.com/review/what-is-wine/

Tannin is found in red wines and contributes to the astringent quality of red wine. Put a wet, black tea bag on your tongue for a great example of how tannin tastes.

source: http://winefolly.com/review/what-is-wine/

Within the tiny minutia of wine (the phenols, esters, higher alcohols, acids, etc) is where you’ll find the complexities to wine’s flavors and aromas. Each grape variety exhibits aroma compounds at different levels. This is why some wines smell like berries and others smell like flowers. Another contributing factor to wine’s aromas is aging. Nearly all red wines are aged in oak, which not only contributes an oak barrel’s flavor compounds (like vanillan) but also acts as a conduit to expose the wine to oxygen. Oxidation and aging produce a range of unique flavors to wine including nuttiness, and dried fruit/flower flavors.

source: http://winefolly.com/review/what-is-wine/

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