Wine Production 101

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Red Wine Vs. White Wine

While an in depth lesson in wine making is unnecessary, a general overview of how the production of red and white wines influence their unique characteristics is vital.

Red and white wines differ in four ways:

  • § Taste
  • § Color (Appearance)
  • § Food Pairings
  • § Production

4-Steps to Wine Production

The four steps involved in wine production include:

  • § The selection and preparation of grapes
  • § The fermentation process
  • § The Aging Process or Maturation
  • § Bottling and Packaging
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Grape Selection and Preparation

When grapes are selected, the condition of the grape is overwhelmingly crucial to the wine’s quality. Since the grape is used to make the vintage, it represents the final product and plays a leading role in the selection process.

Grape selection and preparation relies upon several variables:

  • § Timing of grape selection
  • § Soil conditions
  • § Climate conditions during growing and harvesting season
  • § Ripeness of the grape
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After, grapes have been checked for contamination and meet quality standards, they are then crushed. During the crushing stage, the grape berries are physically broken apart.  When grapes are squashed for the production of red and white wine, a transparent or white fluid is released. Every part of the grape is crushed: the stem, skin and pulp. The concoction is known as “MUST.” After the grape’s compression, white and red wines endure a different mixing process.

With a white wine, (i.e. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio etc.) the must is removed before the wine has a chance to soak up any color.

Now in reds, (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel etc.), must impacts the vintage’s final color, bouquet (scent) and flavor. Instead of the must being eliminated, the solids (pulp, stem and skin) are left to soften and soak into the wine’s juice. The objective of this process is to allow the wine to collect the extracts for its finish or final product:

Tannin (tan-nin)

refers to a yellowish or brownish substance derived from a grape’s stems, extracted during red winemaking.Tannins help wines age gracefully and develop complex characteristics.


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  • § Color
  • § Tannins
  • § Flavors

Fermentation Process

The process of transforming sugar into alcohol is fermentation. Sugar contained in grapes is converted into alcohol using different fermentation processes. To initiate fermentation,  a minimal about of yeast is added. Once the grape juice achieves the desired sweetness, fermentation is concluded.

Under-ripe Grapes When grapes are picked before reaching their full ripeness, they tend to have inadequate levels of sugar to transform into alcohol. Eleven to 13 percent is the normal range from converting sugar into alcohol.

The Aging Process or Maturation

Wine takes on many characteristics during the aging process. A number of variables impact the wine during this stage. For example, most wines are matured in oak barrels to develop a distinctive taste. Some vintners prefer to age their wines in American oak, over oak grown in France, and vice versa. Others mature their wines in stainless tanks.

When it comes to maturing wines, red and whites have differing maturation limitations. For example, red wine can live up to three years in oak barrels; while, white wine has a life span of up to only a year and a half. The more time white wine remains in a barrel, the more susceptible it is to oxidation.

The method and span in which white or red wine is matured determines its flavor. Oak tends to enhance the bold textures of a wine; while steel makes for a crisp, light zingy essence.

Since, evaporation is inevitable; particularly, with the high porosity of oak barrels, barrels are kept full to interrupt oxidation.

This is accomplished by a process known as racking, or adding the wine from another barrel. Racking continues throughout the aging process where wines are transferred to the bottling stage.

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Bottling and Packaging

Another integral step of winemaking is the bottling and packaging of wine. A variety of environmental elements can enhance or hinder wine during this process. Wine is made in places where good and bad bacteria reside. Negative bacterium taints wine if untreated and if treated the flavor may change.

There are two basic methods for bottling wine:

  • § Cold Bottling

    — is a popular technique, where cold wine is transferred into nitrogen filled bottles. Prior to corking the wine, another pocket of nitrogen is emitted between the wine and the cork, acting as an invisible barrier, preventing bad bacteria.

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  • § Hot Bottling During the bottling process, wine is pasteurized.

Once bottled, a wine’s maturation continues to blossom, age and develop. The flavors of the wine are refined, for sometimes as long as a century.  Unlike white wine, certain red wines require a specific span of time before consumption. Certain young red wines can be  abrasive and overwhelmed with tannins. Aging red wines tends to soften the harsh edges and make for a delicious wine.

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Red Wine Vs. White Wine

While an in depth lesson in winemaking is unnecessary, a general overview of how the production of red and white wines influence their unique characteristics is vital.

Red and white wines differ in four ways:

  • § Taste
  • § Color (Appearance)
  • § Food Pairings
  • § Production
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4-Steps to Wine Production

The four steps involved in wine production include:

  • § The selection and preparation of grapes
  • § The fermentation process
  • § The Aging Process or Maturation
  • § Bottling and Packaging

Grape Selection and Preparation

When grapes are selected, the condition of the grape is overwhelmingly crucial to the wine’s quality. Since the grape is used to make the vintage, it represents the final product and plays a leading role in the selection process.

Grape selection and preparation relies upon several variables:

  • § Timing of grape selection
  • § Soil conditions
  • § Harvesting conditions (climate) of the grapes
  • § Ripeness

After, grapes have been checked for contamination and meet quality standards, they are then crushed. During the crushing stage, the grape berries are physically broken apart.  When grapes are squashed for the production of red and white wine, a transparent or white fluid is released. Every part of the grape is crushed: the stem, skin and pulp. The concoction is known as “MUST.” After the grape’s compression, white and red wines endure a different mixing process.

With a white wine, (i.e. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio etc.) the must is removed before the wine has a chance to soak up any color.

Now in reds, (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel etc.), must impacts the vintage’s final color, bouquet (scent) and flavor. Instead of the must being eliminated, the solids (pulp, stem and skin) are left to soften and soak into the wine’s juice. The objective of this process is to allow the wine to collect the extracts for its finish or final product:

Tannin (tan-nin)

refers to a yellowish or brownish substance derived from a grape’s stems, extracted during red winemaking.Tannins help wines age gracefully and develop

complex characteristics.

  • § Color
  • § Tannins
  • § Flavors

Fermentation Process

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The process of transforming sugar into alcohol is fermentation. Sugar contained in grapes is converted into alcohol using different fermentation processes. To initiate fermentation,  a minimal about of yeast is added. Once the grape juice achieves the desired sweetness, fermentation is concluded.

Under-ripe Grapes When grapes are picked before reaching their full ripeness, they tend to have inadequate levels of sugar to transform into alcohol. Eleven to 13 percent is the normal range from converting sugar into alcohol.

The Aging Process or Maturation

Wine takes on many characteristics during the aging process. A number of variables impact the wine during this stage. For example, most wines are matured in oak barrels to develop a distinctive taste. Some vintners prefer to age their wines in American oak, over oak grown in France, and vice versa. Others mature their wines in stainless tanks.

When it comes to maturing wines, red and whites have differing maturation limitations. For example, red wine can live up to three years in oak barrels; while, white wine has a life span of up to only a year and a half. The more time white wine remains in a barrel, the more susceptible it is to oxidation.

The method and span in which white or red wine is matured determines its flavor. Oak tends to enhance the bold textures of a wine; while steel makes for a crisp, light zingy essence.

Since, evaporation is inevitable; particularly, with the high porosity of oak barrels, barrels are kept full to interrupt oxidation.

This is accomplished by a process known as racking, or adding the wine from another barrel. Racking continues throughout the aging process where wines are transferred to the bottling stage.

Bottling and Packaging

Another integral step of wine making is the bottling and packaging of wine. A variety of environmental elements can enhance or hinder wine during this process. Wine is made in places where good and bad bacteria reside. Negative bacterium taints wine if untreated and if treated the flavor may change.

There are two basic methods for bottling wine:

  • § Cold Bottling — is a popular technique, where cold wine is transferred into nitrogen filled bottles. Prior to corking the wine, another pocket of nitrogen is emitted between the wine and the cork, acting as an invisible barrier, preventing bad bacteria.
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Once bottled, a wine’s maturation continues to blossom, age and develop. The flavors of the wine are refined, for sometimes as long as a century.  Unlike white wine, certain red wines require a specific span of time before consumption. Certain young red wines can be  abrasive and overwhelmed with tannins. Aging red wines tends to soften the harsh edges and make for a delicious wine.

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