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.

Get to grips with the life cycle of a vine before the grapes are harvested, with help from some graphics from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust...

life cycle vine
Understand the vine growing cycle

See this simple guide using WSET graphics...

The post The life cycle of a vine – ask Decanter appeared first on Decanter.


Get to grips with the life cycle of a vine before the grapes are harvested, with help from some graphics from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust...

life cycle vine
Understand the vine growing cycle

See this simple guide using WSET graphics...

The post The life cycle of a vine – ask Decanter appeared first on Decanter.

Get to grips with the life cycle of a vine before the grapes are harvested, with help from some graphics from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust...

life cycle vine
Understand the vine growing cycle

See this simple guide to the life cycle of a vine.

Budburst

Budburst is the beginning of the life cycle of a vine, and happens during the spring. The first buds of the vine begin to break, but are very delicate – which is why spring frosts have cause such problems in the vineyard. 

life cycle vine

 

Early shoot and leaf growth 

The vines develop initial shoots and leaves on the vine. Leaves are required for photosynthesis.

life cycle vine

Flowering and fruit set

The buds turn into flowers and small bunches of grapes begin to grow. Winemakers cross their fingers for good weather during the flowering period. Rain during flowering can lead to poor fruit-set, also known as coulure in French, which can impact harvest size and also quality further down the line.

life cycle vine

Véraison and berry ripening

Véraison is when the grapes have finished growing and start to ripen. For red grapes, this is when the colour turns from green to purple.

life cycle vine

Harvest

When the grapes are fully ripened, it is time for them to be harvested, to then start the vinification process. Depending on the winery and the location of the vineyard, this may be done by hand or by machine.

If whole bunches are required, these generally must be picked by hand. Harvest can start even earlier than the months listed below, depending on the speed of that year’s growing season. Grapes intended for sparkling wines are often also harvested earlier to retain higher acid levels.

life cycle vine

Winter dormancy 

During the winter months, the vines go dormant, and stop growing, until the next spring. In regions that often experience a particularly cold winter, vines may be buried for their own protection. This happens in the Ningxia region in China, where winter temperatures can reach minus 35 degrees celsius.

life cycle vine

 

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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.