Wine production and distribution has changed dramatically the last few decades. Although the grape selection and fermentation processes still remain the same, the introduction of new technology has made wine manufacturing easier. The old wine making customs are now easier to manipulate and modify in order to produce wine in a more efficient manner, as well as manufacture drink that differ in color and flavor.
Besides the solid ingredients such as grapes and yeast, timing is one of the most important factors in producing a great wine. Picking the grapes at the right time, as well as understanding the fermentation and stringing process is just as important as harvesting the perfect grape. There are three stages to the wine making process and they are as follows:
1. Harvesting and Crushing the Grapes
Wine makers will chose grapes that are ripe and ready to be crushed, and use a device called a refractometer, which measures the sugar percentage in the grapes. After the appropriate grapes are picked, they are then funneled through a mechanical device called a harvester, which crushes the grapes and prevents the oxidization of the grapes’ juice. After going through the mechanical harvester, the grapes are then moved to a stable environment, such as the winery, where they are then placed in a crusher machine. Wineries use a variety of these machines to rid of the stems and produce a liquid substance that can be easily funneled. Crusher- stemmer machines can be powered by either hydraulic or air pressure power.
2. Aging the Wine
After the initial phase, the wine is then stored in a damp and underground room where it can be properly filtered and aged. Many of these reservoirs will be temperature controlled and lined with redwood or a special kind of oak. After this step is complete, the wine is then filtered and stored at low temperatures- this step is called “settling” and it creates an even tasting and constituency of the batch throughout all the containers. Wineries will age the wine depending on the quality they are willing to sell and the type grapes they have chosen. White wine and rose are stored somewhere between a year to four years and red wine can be aged for up to ten years.
The packaging and presentation of wine is just as important as the production process. Longstanding wineries with the necessary money and resources will have an in-house packaging center, however, smaller sized vineyards will outsource this last step to third party vendors. Moderately priced wines will have a cork that is made out of special oak.