Vinification is the process that transforms the grapes into wine. The process of vinification differ from region to region, financial state of the winery and the grape types. The harvesting time and the type of oak used for aging are based on the region in which the wine grapes are grown.

Wine making process involves the following stages:

  • The first step in wine making process is Harvesting or Picking. Grapes should be harvested at the right time in order to make good wine. Harvesting can be done either mechanically or by hand.
  • The process of separating the grapes from the stems and cluster parts is called Destemming. Some of the wine makers keep some fragments of the stem to increase the wine tannin.
  • After destemming the grapes are crushed to extract the juice from the skin. This is done before the fermentation process begins. In the olden days bare feet is used to extract the grape juice, now a day machines like crushers are used.
  • Separation of grape juice and the skin is named as pressing. After crushing the grape juice will flow freely, selected wineries use pressers to make sure maximum juice is released.
  • Once the grapes are pressed they are introduced into the process of fermentation. During this process the grape juice are converted into alcoholic beverage. The yeast interacts with the sugar in the grape juice and converts them into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
  • Once the wine is purified and refined, they are preserved with sulfur dioxide or potassium sorbate. During the natural process of fermentation a minimum amount of sulfites are produced, but more is added for the use of commercial preservation.
  • Wines are aged for a particular amount of time to get more welcoming wine. Once after purification, the wines are moved to wooden barrels for aging. Metal vats, concrete vats and glass carboys are also used in some cases to increase the flavor.
  • After aging, the wines are bottled. During the process of bottling a final dose of sulfite is added to the wine to prevent it from uninvited fermentation in the bottle. The bottles are then sealed with cork and screw caps.

It's their profession, but even sommeliers struggle sometimes. We find out some of their toughest food and wine pairings...

pairing wine with food
Even professionals struggle with some food and wine pairing.

What were the hardest matches...?

The post Nightmare food and wine matches – From the sommeliers appeared first on Decanter.


It's their profession, but even sommeliers struggle sometimes. We find out some of their toughest food and wine pairings...

pairing wine with food
Even professionals struggle with some food and wine pairing.

What were the hardest matches...?

The post Nightmare food and wine matches – From the sommeliers appeared first on Decanter.

It's their profession, but even sommeliers struggle sometimes. We find out some of their toughest food and wine pairings...

pairing wine with food
Even professionals struggle with some food and wine pairing.

Sommeliers’ toughest food and wine matches

Even sommeliers can struggle to find the best wine pairing for a dish. We’ve raided our archive of Confessions of a Sommelier from Decanter magazine to find out some of their most difficult pairings – and some advice for pairing wine with food.

Common challenges

‘The most common challenge is when diners want to drink sweet wines like Sauternes with dessert, especially with cold elements like ice cream,’ said  Arvid Rosengren, speaking to Decanter when wine director at Copenhagen Concepts restaurant group. ‘It’s rarely a good idea and I try to persuade them to go the route of fresher wines with less dry extract like Beerenauslese.’

Rosengren was named best sommelier in the world in 2016 and is wine director at Charlie Bird in New York.

‘Spicy dishes are always the hardest to pair when you are looking for balance,’ said David Vareille, speaking when he was sommelier at Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental, London. He is now head sommelier at the Arts Club, London.

‘[At Bar Boulud] our dish Boudin Noir au piment d’espelette (black pudding with hot chilli) was difficult – but I like serving Egon Müller’s Riesling Kabinett: the residual sugar softens the chilli without altering the taste of the sausage.’


See also: What wines to serve with curry


‘When I first started to work at Coya I found it a challenge to match wines with ceviche, the classic Peruvian dish, but I found it – Grüner Veltliner with a bit of age is a marriage made in heaven!’ Maria Wallèn, head sommelier at London’s Coya.

‘Asparagus is tricky. But a reliable match is Domaine Colin’s Pierre à Feu Chenin Blanc 2012 from Côteaux du Vendômois,’ said Stéphane Morand, sommelier at Le Cercle à Bourges.

Chinese food and wine matching

Chinese food and wine matching can be a complicated affair.


See also: Worst customer habits in restaurants – from the sommeliers


Difficult dishes

‘A fillet of halibut with a beetroot reduction. I chose a Spätburgunder from Weingut Huber in Baden,’ said Mathieu Ouvrard, speaking to Decanter when the head sommelier at Gleneagles Hotel.

‘Blue lobster ravioli. I chose white Châteauneuf-du-Pape: very elegant, to marry the power of the lobster,’ said  Stefano Petta, who was working at Hotel Schweizerhof Bern in Switzerland.


See also: Wine list or menu – what comes first?


‘Roast saddle of roe deer in a cocoa bean and juniper berry crust with Jerusalem artichoke and Brussels sprouts. Eventually I was happy with pairing a Malbec-based blend from Mendoza: Dominio del Plata’s Ben Marco Expresivo 2009.’  Richard Bernard, head sommelier at Le Saint-James, Bouliac.

‘Langoustine with truffle, sea kale and Jerusalem artichoke. I paired this tricky dish with Domaine Huet’s Clos de Bourg Demi-Sec Vouvray 1957.’ Emanuel Pesqueira, speaking when head sommelier at The Milestone Hotel & Apartments. He is now food and beverage manager at Oxford and Cambridge Club.

red meat with white wine, cordon bleu

Credit: Le Cordon Bleu London


See also: What to eat with sparkling wines – summer pairing ideas


The sommeliers’ advice

‘The simple rule is that there are only two types of pairings,’ said Richard Bernard, head sommelier at Le Saint-James, Bouliac.

‘Those of harmony (where acidities, sugars and weight in the food and wine are equal) and those of opposition (where a wine of high acidity cuts though fatty meat or an off-dry wine goes with spicy food).’

Christian Thorsholt Jacobsen, speaking when head sommelier at MASH in London, said ‘If you pay a bit more attention to the structure of the food and wine and a bit less attention to flavours it’s often not a very difficult task.’

‘As long as you don’t limit your way of thinking, anything can be possible.’ said Wallen.

These answers were part of Confessions of a Sommelier in Decanter magazine, between 2013 and 2015.


READ MORE: The 10 commandments of food and wine pairing


More on sommeliers:

The post Nightmare food and wine matches – From the sommeliers appeared first on Decanter.


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Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Each wine is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Winemakers all over the world are combining wine making traditions of millennia with innovative approaches and ideas, to address consumer demand for high quality products and a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.