Wine is a popular drink all over the world. But how is wine actually made?
The history of the grape
The grape was already cultivated and made into wine by the Romans in ancient times. However, the first vines were probably cultivated in Persia or in what is now Iran. In the course of time, however, the cultivation of the grape also spread to Europe, where it was particularly popular in Italy and France. In Germany, the grape was not cultivated until the 16th century, with Riesling and Spätburgunder being the best-known varieties. Today, the grape is one of the most widely cultivated fruit varieties in the world and is used both fresh and processed into wine, juice or vinegar. The different varieties differ in size, colour and shape. The best-known grape varieties are Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
When is the grape ripe?
The grape harvest is a delicate matter. Because the grapes have to be harvested at the right time so that they later become a good wine. But when is the grape ripe? This question cannot be answered in a general way, because it depends on various factors. First of all, of course, the variety is decisive, but also the location and the climate. The ripening period begins mostly in August or September and ends in October or November. During this time, the winegrower must closely observe how the grapes develop and decide when it is time to harvest the grapes.
How does the grape become wine?
After the grapes have been picked, they are first washed and then fermented in a fermentation tank. During this process, the sugars are transformed into alcohol. The grapes are stirred regularly with a wooden stick to prevent mould from forming on the surface. After about two weeks, the fermentation process is complete and the wine can be bottled. Before that, however, it is filtered so that no sediments end up in the wine bottle. The wine is bottled either in Bordeaux or Burgundy bottles. The wine then matures in a cellar where it can be stored until it is tasted.
Vinification – an art in itself
The next step in the production of wine is pressing. This process involves pressing the grapes to extract the juice. The juice is then stored in barrels or tanks and fermented, resulting in wine. Pressing is a crucial step in winemaking as it determines how much must (or grape juice) is extracted from the grapes. If too much must is pressed from the grapes, it can result in a soft and flat wine. However, if too little must is pressed from the grapes, this can result in a hard and astringent wine. There are different types of pressing, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The most commonly used methods of pressing are pneumatic pressing and hydraulic pressing. Pneumatic pressing is the fastest and most efficient method of pressing. This method uses compressed air to squeeze the juice out of the grapes. Hydraulic pressing is slower than pneumatic pressing, but it is also very effective. This method uses water pressure to press the juice out of the grapes.
The vineyard – The basis for good wine
The vineyard is the basis for good wine. It is the place where the grapes grow and ripen. The quality of the wine depends largely on the conditions in the vineyard. The climate is an essential factor that influences the quality of the wine. It should not be too hot and not too cold. A temperate climate with enough sunshine and rain is ideal. The soils in the vineyard should be well-drained so that water can drain off well. They should also be rich in nutrients so that the grapes can thrive. The vines should be well spaced so that they get enough air and light. The vines’ tendrils should be removed regularly so that they do not become tangled and their quality suffers.
To sum up, the grape becomes wine because its high sugar content and variety of flavours make it particularly suitable for this purpose. These characteristics make it an ideal starting product for viticulture. The grapes are harvested, pressed and then fermented. This process creates the wine we all love to drink.