In the California Wine Country, as well as elsewhere in the world, winemakers can have rock star-like fame! It’s true. When you have the ability to take grapes and expertly crush them, age them and make them into something delicious that you can pour from a bottle, people tend to remember your name. And while the process of making wine (also known as “vinification”) is centuries old, it is more of an ongoing art form than anything else.
But let’s take this back to the basics. There are a few common elements that go into making every bottle of wine on Earth.
Process of Making Wine
First, the grapes must be grown; next, the grapes must be picked; then, the grapes must be crushed. (We’re halfway there!) After they’re crushed, the grapes are fermented and technically transformed from grapes into wine. All that’s left is for the wine to be aged, and then bottled. Oh! And of course, the final step (as well as the best part): the wine must be consumed!
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.- Benjamin Franklin
Another basic element that is useful to know about making wine is how to make red wine versus white wine. Very generally speaking, red wine is made from the “must” (or pulp) of red or black grapes. The fermentation of these grapes occurs together with the grape skins, which give red wine its color. White wine, on the other hand, is made by fermenting only the juice that comes from crushing the grapes. In other words, only the grape juice is used in white wines; the skins are removed and play no further role in the winemaking process.
Old World vs New World
That covers the basics about making wine from grapes. But where the real beauty starts to take shape is when you consider the style that is used in winemaking! When you look at the winemaking journey from vine-to-wine, you can see right away that it is a very specific and personal process for most winemakers. A winemaker is part farmer, part philosopher, and part artist - which is the reason why the world of wine is something you’ll never find boring! There are old world ideals mixed in with new world techniques that always usher in ever-changing and interesting dynamics in every bottle of wine.
As you explore the world of making wine even just a little, you’ll discover how many nuances are added to a bottle of wine by the person making it. You’ll see how legacy plays a role, as well as how much farming adds to the finished product. And, as a living, breathing product contained inside of a bottle, wine is always changing, altering and reflecting something new and exciting when it’s opened! Making wine is an honest and pure expression of the Earth, the changing seasons and the winemaker.
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