Many people like to enjoy a glass of wine with a meal, but have you ever wondered, how is wine made? The first step in the process is to make sure that the best quality ripened grapes are picked from the vines. To make a high quality wine, the grapes must be ripened to perfection, not under ripe or overly ripe.
At the time when the grapes reach peak perfection, many vineyards will send teams of workers into the fields to harvest the grapes. All of the grapes will then be hand selected by the picking teams, and then loaded onto half ton bins. However, many vineyards are now choosing to harvest grapes by using a machine, which saves them money and allows for the grapes to be harvested at night to help preserve their quality . When using a machine for harvest, the grapes will then have to be hand sorted and inspected for quality. After any bad or undesirable grapes are removed, the remaining ones are placed in a machine that separates the stems.
The next steps in wine manufacturing involve the grapes being carried by conveyer belt to a tank where they will then be pumped into a vessel where fermentation takes place. At this point, grapes to be used in red wine will be allowed to ferment with their skins on, while those designated for white wine will be pressed in order to remove skin. The fermentation vessel is then filled with grapes and workers actually use their feet to extract the color from the grape skins by trodding on them. As the fermentation process begins, workers will mix the skin and juices by hand several times per day to prevent bacteria from growing on the surface.
Some wines are allowed to ferment during wine manufacturing with wild yeasts that are natural to the area, while some winemakers may add cultured yeasts in a dry form to better control fermentation. After fermentation has completed, the wine is stored in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks to mature. The maturation process may take anywhere from six months to three years, during which time winemakers will check on process and possibly switched from barrel to barrel to aid in maturation.
When the wine is ready, it is then filtered and prepared for bottling.
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