It's hard to imagine, when you walk through a vineyard, that the pretty bunches of grapes you see are transformed into wine. Where does alcohol come from? How does wine color? What happens to the skins and seeds of grapes? You will have an answer to all these questions by discovering the 10 steps of transforming grapes into wine .
Step 1: choosing the grape
There is not one single grape, but hundreds of varieties of grapes , which we call grape varieties. Depending on the grape variety, you can then have table grapes, the berries of which are eaten for dessert, or wine grapes, used to make wine. Among the wine grape varieties , we find white grapes, such as Chardonnay, Rolle, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Sémillon, as well as black grapes, such as Syrah, Grenache Noir, Merlot, Cabernet. sauvignon...
For winemaking, the choice of grape variety will have an influence on the taste and characteristics of the wine.
Step 2: the grape viticulture method
Once the grape varieties are selected, the winemaker must choose a method of growing the vines . If conventional wines allow the use of numerous additives to combat pests, natural wines, organic wines and thermodynamic wines limit chemical products in the vineyard. The viticulture technique will then have an impact on the final product.
Furthermore, some winegrowers choose to use machines, while others prefer to work the land by hand. If this mainly responds to traditional values or not, these techniques also have an impact on the quality of the grapes , and therefore of the wine.
Step 3: the harvest
The harvest is a crucial stage in winemaking. They must be carried out at the best time, when the grapes are ripe. Beyond the harvest date , often between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, the harvesting technique is also important. Although there are machines for mechanical harvesting , it is also possible to pick the grapes by hand. Manual harvesting is more respectful of the fruit, which is less damaged.
Step 4: destemming or destemming
Arriving at the cellar, the bunches of grapes undergo destemming . This involves removing the stems, or stalks, to keep only the berries. Some winegrowers choose not to destemm the grapes, in order to offer herbaceous aromas to the wine. Others prefer partial destemming.
Step 5: crushing and pressing
Crushing is a step exclusively reserved for the manufacture of red wine. The grapes are then crushed, or crushed, to release the grape juice. If, at the time, treading was done with the feet, there are now machines for this.
Pressing applies to all wines, and consists of pressing the grapes, to obtain a mixture of grape skin, grape juice and grain, which is called must.
Step 6: skin maceration and alcoholic fermentation
Once the grape must is obtained, it is placed in a vat or barrel, to let it macerate and ferment . It is during these essential stages that the sugars contained in the grapes will transform into alcohol, under the action of the yeasts naturally present in the fruit. It is also possible to add yeast to facilitate the alcoholic fermentation process .
For red wines, it is also at this stage that the tannins contained in the skins of the grapes are transferred into the juice.
Finally, the longer the maceration and fermentation period , the more colorful and aromatic the wines will be, and the higher the alcohol level.
Step 7: draining and pressing (for red wine)
During the fermentation of red wine, a cap of marc forms on the surface. It includes all the solid parts of the grape (skin, stem, seeds, etc.), but also all the tannins, pigments and aromas of the wine. Pouring then consists of recovering the macerated juice from the bottom of the tank, without the marc cap, in order to obtain free-run wine .
As for pressing , this consists of recovering and pressing the cap of marc, to obtain press wine , rich in tannins and more aromatic.
Step 8: malolactic fermentation
An optional second fermentation is then carried out. During this malolactic fermentation , it is the bacteria which act to bring more finesse and roundness to the wine.
Step 9: breeding
Aging is also an optional stage of winemaking, which consists of storing the wine in barrels for several months to allow the aromas to evolve and obtain a beautiful structure.
Step 10: bottling
Bottling is the final stage of winemaking. The wine is filtered to remove all residues, then it is bottled. The wine can then be consumed young, or be intended for aging in the cellar.
You now know all the secrets of wine making . It is thus the fruit of the meticulous work of passionate winegrowers which allows you to taste each bottle of wine with so much pleasure.