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.

In partnership with Wines of Argentina

Tim Atkin MW on the shift towards more elegant winemaking...

Malbec winemaking
What's new in the cellars?

It’s easy to forget that someone has to turn grapes into wine...

The post What’s changing in Argentinian Malbec winemaking appeared first on Decanter.


In partnership with Wines of Argentina

Tim Atkin MW on the shift towards more elegant winemaking...

Malbec winemaking
What's new in the cellars?

It’s easy to forget that someone has to turn grapes into wine...

The post What’s changing in Argentinian Malbec winemaking appeared first on Decanter.

In partnership with Wines of Argentina

Tim Atkin MW on the shift towards more elegant winemaking...

Malbec winemaking
What's new in the cellars?

What’s changing in Argentinian Malbec winemaking

In partnership with Wines of Argentina

There’s so much talk about vineyards in Argentina these days – about altitude, soil types, clones and vine age – that it’s easy to forget that someone has to turn grapes into wine. But what has happened in the cellar over the last 30 years has been a vital part of the country’s transformation, not least because many of the best winemakers also have a connection with the land.

Where Malbec is concerned – although this applies equally to other red wine styles – Argentina has been through three distinct phases. The first was what might be termed “traditional”. These were wines that were overwhelmingly aimed at the domestic market: aged in older, often larger oak, invariably with a degree of oxidation. The belief then was that mature was best. Faults were common, even if some of the wines were surprisingly good.

What changed the face of Malbec was the arrival of a four foreign winemakers in Argentina between 1988 and 1998: Michel Rolland, the American Paul Hobbs and two Italians, Alberto Antonini and Robert Cipresso. As well as consulting to other wineries, all four have invested their own money and are still involved with Yacochuya and Clos de los Siete (Rolland), Viña Cobos (Hobbs), Altos Las Hormigas (Antonini) and Mater Vini (Cipresso). There were differences between their approaches, which have also shifted over the years, but this quartet favoured later picking, denser colours, more new oak and cleaner cellars.

Argentine Malbec terroir, Wines of Argentina

Malbec grapes

Many Argentinean Malbecs still favour this “international” style. And very successful it has proved too. But there has been a move towards more elegant, terroir-specific wines in the last decade. This is the third phase of Malbec’s development.

Key figures in this movement have been Antonini (whose opinions have changed radically) as well as group of younger Argentinean winemakers, most notably Sebastián Zuccardi (Zuccardi), Alejandro Vigil (Catena and El Enemigo), Alejandro Sejanovich (Bodega Teho) and the three Michelini brothers, Matías, Gerardo and Juan-Pablo, who seem to be involved with dozens of projects, mostly in cooler, high altitude regions. Once derided as “green” winemakers, because they picked earlier than their competitors, they are now seen as exemplars of an exciting new wave.

These Malbecs, often blended with other grapes, particularly Cabernet Franc, are all about freshness, acidity and perfume. Oak is used sparingly, if at all, with concrete tanks and eggs more likely. The retention of stems for partial or total whole bunch fermentation is also a common technique. These are wines that owe as much to Burgundy or what’s happening in parts of Spain as they do to Bordeaux or the Napa Valley.

Some new wave winemakers argue that these styles are traditional in many ways, with greater respect for vineyard origin and a lighter touch, but I think that’s incorrect. They are radical new direction for Argentina. Will this prove to be the dominant style over the next decade? I think it’s unlikely, partly because major markets such as America and Brazil love riper, oakier Malbecs.

But who says that there’s only one way to make this wonderful variety? Diversity, as ever, is part of the pleasure of drinking wine.


This article was commissioned by Decanter and has been published in partnership with Wines of Argentina as part of a sponsored campaign on Decanter.com.


More from Wines of Argentina:

  • How Malbec shows Argentina’s diverse terroirs

  • On trend: Five Argentinian grape varieties to know

  • Top Argentina winery restaurants

  • Argentinian winemakers: Seven rising stars

The post What’s changing in Argentinian Malbec winemaking 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.