Have you ever wondered how wine is made? Wine is essentially fermented fruit in liquid form. The grapes are gathered from the vineyard and crushed. Yeast that occurs naturally in these environments, comes into contact with the sugar in the grape juice and it’s this that turns into alcohol. All sounds pretty simple right? Well, let’s take a look:
99.9% of the world’s wine is made from grapes so the first step is to gather a very large amount of this fruit, once it’s ripe. The grapes are put into a clean container and crushed to release all their lovely juice. You may have seen the traditional way of performing this task which was by foot but these days a much more hygienic machine is used for the crushing. There is then a period of waiting while the fermentation takes place.
When the yeasts have done their business, the grape juice is now turned into wine. The sugar that was there is no longer and has become alcohol. The most common containers used for this process are made of oak or stainless steel. The people producing wine can make many decisions that affect how the wine will taste, for example, by using different sizes of container, the temperature the liquid is kept during fermentation and how long it is left to ferment. How long to let the wine mature for and in what type of container will also affect the flavour. Fermentation can be left for anything from 3 days to 3 months and maturing can be left for a couple of weeks or even a couple of years.
The flavour of wine and what differentiates each wine is the local grapes that are used to make it. Simply put, different varieties of grapes make different flavoured wines. The more ripe and sweeter the grape, the more alcoholic it will be too. The soil and climate of each wine growing region will affect the nature of the grape and it’s ripeness. This explains why so much knowledge regarding wine, centres on where it has come from. For an Online wine merchants in Northern Ireland, visit http://thewinecompanyni.com/.
Alcohol can also be made, through fermentation, from a wide range of other fruits including berries, apples, dandelions, elder-berries, cherries and rice. There are different species of grapes but the one that is mostly used for wine making is Vitis labrusca and in particular Vitis vinifera. The process of cultivating grapes for wine production is referred to as viticulture.
When buying wine, there are certain things you can look out for on the label. The name of a wine will almost always be linked to the name of the main grape used, the geographical area it was made or a specific prestigious vineyard. The year a wine is made is only printed on the labels of wines that have aged for more than 2 years. Wine years are known as vintages and some wines are considered better or worse depending on what year they were made, although this does vary by region.