Foundation 101 of Wines and Wine-making - DELICATE Wines SG

Foundation 101 of Wines and Wine-making

The wine-making process, or vinification, can sometimes seem daunting. However, people are still attracted to learning more about tradition, culture, and craftsmanship. This blog focuses on the basics of wine, including its origins and style and how the grapes in the vineyards turn into the glass of wine served on your table.

The five major types of wine

Let's go through the five primary types of wines that you might encounter in your daily life:

Red wine

Red wine is made from dark-colored grape varieties; the skin is the magic part. Among different red wines, the famous ones commonly seen on the shelves are probably Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. Different regions play a significant role in producing wines with varying levels of tannin or boldness.

Fun Fact: Red wine will exacerbate the fishy flavor, so pairing red wines with fish is a no-no.

White wine

White Wine is a highly consumed wine after red wine, including examples like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Riesling. They are made from green or yellowish grapes, varying from crisp and zesty to rich, buttery, and creamy.

Fun Fact: Riesling is from Mosel Valley in Germany.

Rosé Wine

Rosé wine has recently gained popularity. It is mainly extracted from red grape varieties via a skin contact method, resulting in a spectrum of hues, from light pink to deep salmon, and refreshing notes of red fruits and floral aromas.

Fun Fact: Pinot Noir Rosé is one of the delicate Rosé Wines.

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling Wine is typically served as a celebration wine or as part of breakfast. Champagne from France and Prosecco from Italy are the popular choices.

Fun Fact: Identifying your sweetness level is essential while choosing your favorite sparkling wine.

Dessert wine

Dessert Wines are primarily sweet, as the name suggests. Port, Sauternes, and Ice Wine contain high sugar content through methods like late harvest or noble rot.

Fun Fact: Not all dessert wines are sweet. The bubbles and the high acidity make them taste less sweet than they are.


The Science behind the winemaking process 

Winemaking comprises several vital stages: Harvest, crushing and pressing, fermentation, aging, and bottling.

Harvest

While grapes are the only fruit that can produce enough sugar to yield alcohol, they are picked by hand or mechanically harvested from grapevines. Viticulture (the cultivation or culture of grapes) also plays a notable role in ensuring the grapes are picked at the optimal winemaking time. Hence, viticulturists or agricultural specialists who specialize in the cultivation of grapes and work closely with winemakers to coordinate the harvests.

Crushing and Pressing

The next step is to crush the grapes to release their juice and yield a thick liquid via extraction and maceration, which is crucial for extracting the flavors and nuances of different flavors and colors. Nowadays, machines can also carry out this process; we call them mechanical crushers.

Fermentation

Upon crushing and pressing, yeast is added to the grape juice to kick-start fermentation, which converts the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process can occur anywhere, including oak barrels, stainless steel tanks, or specialized vessels, at different temperatures and durations (between 10 and a month or more). It is carefully controlled to achieve the desired flavors and aromas.

Clarification

This process removes solid particles or impurities as needed. Sometimes, the winemakers also use filters to strain the large particles.

Aging and Bottling

Aging and bottling are some of the most exciting moments of wine-making! This vital process, also known as maturation, requires patience for the fine wines to develop complexity and unique character. During the bottling, you often will notice an addition of sulfur dioxide to preserve freshness.

To note: Starting from the fermentation of the grapes, different factors in the vineyards, such as grape variety, climate, soil, and winemaking techniques, influence winemaking, which then induces various styles, flavors, and characteristics.

We have gone through the basic five primary wines and the main steps in the winemaking process. In the world of wine, there is an interplay of human sophistication and the nature of ingenuity.

Every bottle has a story to tell. Whether enjoying wine casually or as a connoisseur's pursuit, let's toast the wines' timeless charm and let our memories stay evergreen.

Cheers!


Author: 

Kathy Low



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