Wine producers are often inclined to say that the wine is already made in the vineyard. By this they mean that the flavor of the wine is already decided by the vine. However, during the process of making wine the flavor can still be influenced for a great deal. In an uncontrolled process good grapes may still give vinegar instead of wine. During the production process many parameters influence the final flavor and storage life of the wine.
|Production process of wine|
|Chaptalisation or acidification?|
|Removing the skins|
|Aging and preparation for bottling|
fermentation (also macéron carbonique). This fermentation makes sure that early fruity aromas are formed. The whole bunch fermentation happens in the absence of oxygen. This is done by letting the grapes ferment in a closed tank with carbonic dioxide. This fermentation is an intracellular fermentation, without adding culture to it.
After the undesirable parts are removed and after a possible intracellular fermentation the grapes are bruised and pressed. When white wine needs to be obtained the skins are removed afterwards. For red wine the skins are removed in a later phase so that they can still give color and tannin to the juice.
sugar is added, which is done when the grapes do not contain much sugar of themselves. Each 18 grams of sugar in a liter of must (grape juice with the possible skins) results in 1% alcohol. In the north of Europe en in cold areas it is normal and allowed to add sugar. In the south of Europe it is prohibited, although it is allowed to add concentrated grape juice, which also results in an increase in sugar level and therefore in the alcohol level.
Acidification is the opposite of chaptalisation and is done when the must does not contain much acid. In most cases tartaric acid is added because this is least obtrusive. Apple acid or citrus acid are also used sometimes. Acidification can be done before or after the fermentation, but doing it before the fermentation gives the best mixture in the must.
temperature should be between 12 and 20ºC, for red wine between 35 and 40ºC. When fermentation happens at a too high temperature the wine looses its aroma, freshness and character. With red wine it is important that the skins and the possible stalks that surface (called the cap) are stirred in the must to advance the transfer of color and tannin. An important decision in the fermentation process is the choice for the original fermentation culture on the grapes, which may differ each season and may consists of several cultures, or the choice for adding one or more pure cultures. With this last choice the process is more constant and similar aromas are produced. Each culture advances certain aromas and puts others to the background.
Subsequently it is possible to execute a must concentration. This is done for Bordeaux wines, but in other regions it is not much used. The concentrating of the must by means of evaporation under vacuum or by means of a reversed osmosis gives the wine a richer flavor. The effects of must concentration on the ripening aromas (in the long term) is for the time being unknown.
mixing one or more types of wine of different vineyards a wine is mixed with the desired flavor. After the mixing the wine is purified and/or filtered (in case of wood chips) and/or stabilized. After this the wine is ready to be bottled.
pressure the (wet) cork is pushed into the bottle. Today it is also possible to buy wine in bottles with a screw cap.