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Wine Making Process

The grape passes trough many processes until it gets in peoples' glasses. When it is harvested, red wine grapes are, first of all, processed in the crusher. This machine separates the grapes from the stems and gently transforms them into a juicy/pulpy material, known as "must." The must is, after that, transferred to tanks or fermenting bins where it will be cold soaked for a few days, where it will gain color and fruit flavors. After these few days passed, the "must" is inoculated with yeast and then, the fermentation process begins.
Once the fermentation has started, COČ and alcohol are produced. The CO2 pushes the skins to the top of the tank- or bin - separating it from the juice, forming what is called the "cap." Skin contact is critical at this stage because the juice will pick up color and tannins from the skins. Therefore, the cap must be kept in contact with the juice as much as possible.
This can be made in a couple of different ways. The first, called "punching down," is the simple process of manually pushing the cap back down into the juice. In the old time days, this was accomplished by stomping them with your feet. These days, some people and/or companies use a stainless steel Birkenstock footprint with a long rod attached to it. The second is used for larger quantities of wine and it was baptized as "pumping over." This process uses a pump attached to the bottom of a tank. The juice is then pumped over the top of the cap and it keeps circulating this way for 15 to 20 minutes, at least. Whether you're punching down or pumping over, you must do this twice a day still - sometimes more even- until the fermentation process is complete.
After fermentation ends up, the pulpy juice -already wine - is pressed away from the skins and into a holding tank where it will settle down for a couple of days. The wine is then put into oak barrels to start the aging process, and to allow it to go through a secondary fermentation called "malolactic fermentation". During this specific fermentation, malic acid is converted into lactic acid. After the aging process, the wine is taken out of the barrel and bottled.