Making wine and fermentation
If the wine is not to have secondary fermentation, it must be removed from the vats, and this process is known as racking or back blending. Before this can happen the wine-maker must decide the style of wine he wants. If it is to be medium or sweet, the fermentation will have to be stopped artificially using filters. The wine is passed through very fine screens which extract all the yeast so there can be no more fermentation. In some areas, Germany for example, sweet natural juice is then added to increase the residual sugar content of the wine.
If you are buying wine to lay down, the problem is where to keep it. Having made the investment it is essential to store the wine properly until it is ready for drinking. The ideal store is the old-fashioned cellar, where the air temperature is constant, the humidity is not too high and there is a reasonable flow of air. Modem architecture, however, means few of us have this luxury.
The main requirement in choosing storage space is finding a place where the temperature does not fluctuate. Wine can withstand cold but it cannot cope with constantly changing temperatures. There is a lot of nonsense talked about correct temperatures, but obviously a storage spot next to the hot water boiler is not suitable, nor is a space in the attic, where the sun’s heat can raise the temperature by many degrees each day, before it plunges back down during the night.
About making wine and wines
Wine is the product of fermenting the juice of crushed grapes using yeast and natural grape sugar to produce alcohol. When the required level of alcohol or sweetness has been achieved, the process is stopped and the wine is put into barrels or tanks for storage or bottling.
That is all there is to it, but from your own tasting you will know that some wines can be magnificent and others quite foul. The skill in wine-making is knowing how to make the best possible wine from the grapes. The work of producing good wines starts in the vineyard. The soil and climate can influence the style of the variety planted, but many other factors come into play.
How to make wine
A horizontal press is normally used for white wines. The grapes are put into the cylindrical container until it is full, and it then revolves. As it rotates, chains inside the container break up the grapes and the juice runs off either to fermenting vats or barrels. A second type of horizontal press contains a central bag which is gradually inflated once the grapes have been loaded. The expanding bag pushes the grapes against the side of the container and the juice is pressed out The amount of juice extracted is carefully controlled by the winemaker. The first pressing is generally considered to make the best wine, but wineries can go on to second and third pressings.
Many of the world's vest producers believe that great wine is first created in the vineyard.
Indeed, it is difficult to argue with the suggestion that using top-quality ingredients helps when transforming grapes into red wine or good wine. White wine can be made from both white and black grapes. Crushing breaks the skins, after which de-staking takes place. Gentle pressing is favoured and skins are removed. Fermentation traditionally happends in oak barrels, although today, when minimal change is required, most white wines will ferment in stainless steel vats, Maturation in oak barrels can add another dimension and flavour profile to a good wine.
FRENCH WINE *** CLUB WINE
Red wine must be made from black grapes. This time the juice is fermented on the skins for better colour extraction. The juice, which runs freely after fermentation, is of the highest quality. The remaining pomace, or skins, are further crushed to release any more juice, which is generally used in blending for the best red wine.
Maturation can be controlled on oak barrels. The filtration of red wine may be minimal, if at all. Most fruity wines made to be consumed young will have little further maturation or development in the bottle. Some of the world's great classics however, can evolve slowly, to reach a plateau of maturity and amazing levels of complexity.
FRENCH WINE *** CLUB WINE
Oak barrels are used by a winemaker to impart complementary flavours and aromas to a wine. Barrels are toasted at various levels from light to medium to heavy, and will be selected to suit o particular grape variety or style of wine. Barrels are a convenient container in which to store a wine, as the subtle exchanges with oxygen, moisture ans alcohol help the wine to evolpe from the youthul 'green' to more complex and mature flavours.
Many different types of oak are used in the winemaking process, with white oak being the most common. French, Hungarian, and North American oak are the best-known species used, with each one having slightly different attribures. Just as vines and grapes are distinctly individual when groun under differnet conditions or areas, so are oak trees.
FRENCH WINE *** CLUB WINE
Very few wineries have their own cooperage, preferring to rely more often on purchasing barrels that have been carefully milled, cured, and toasted. It is an expresive business to be made by the barrel supplier.