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.

Why it makes the Decanter hall of fame...

Henschke, Hill of Grace 1998

Why it makes the Decanter hall of fame...

The post Wine Legend: Henschke, Hill of Grace 1998 appeared first on Decanter.


Why it makes the Decanter hall of fame...

Henschke, Hill of Grace 1998

Why it makes the Decanter hall of fame...

The post Wine Legend: Henschke, Hill of Grace 1998 appeared first on Decanter.

Why it makes the Decanter hall of fame...

Henschke, Hill of Grace 1998

Wine Legend: Henschke, Hill of Grace 1998, Eden Valley, South Australia

Number of bottles produced n/a

Composition 100% Shiraz

Yield (hl/ha) 17hl/ha

Alcohol content 13.7%

Release price AU$288 (released in 2003)

Price today £397-£495 per bottle


A legend because…

It is one of the two iconic Australian Shirazes, the other being Penfolds’ Grange. They differ radically, in that Grange has always been a blend of outstanding but dispersed sites, while Hill of Grace has always been a single-vineyard wine. Which you prefer is a matter of personal taste, but no one would begrudge Hill of Grace its classic status, as it has delivered superb, long-lived wines for decades. The 1998 is one of a number of brilliant vintages.

Looking back

Cyril Henschke created, and named, this wine, in 1958. Hill of Grace is a translation of Gnadenberg, the German name of the village and church close to the vineyard. The vineyard was bought by Paul Henschke in 1891, and was already planted, although it was subsequently expanded. It passed on to other hands, but was retrieved by the family when Louis Henschke bought it in 1951. It was Louis who insisted on farming the vineyard organically. Cyril, a pioneer of South Australian table wine production, died in his fifties in 1979, and the business passed to one of his sons, Stephen. Stephen Henschke and his wife Prue, a renowned viticulturist, run the property to this day and were responsible for making the 1998 vintage.

The vintage

After a dry winter, the spring was quite wet, which encouraged vine growth. The summer was gentle, though there were periods of heat in mid-January and again in late February, which put the brakes on the ripening. Cooler autumn weather arrived earlier than usual, and this too delayed ripening, promising a late harvest. Yields were average, and quality exceptional, which was widely recognised.

‘When it was in the fermenters we knew it was going to be a terrific year,’ recalls Stephen.

The terroir

The vineyard comprises eight hectares at an elevation of 400 metres in Eden Valley rather than on the hotter Barossa Valley floor. Although Shiraz is the dominant variety, there are also patches of Riesling, Semillon and Mourvedre. The Mourvedre is sometimes included in Hill of Grace, but only when it is sufficiently ripe. The oldest block dates from 1861 and the vines are planted on their own roots; the rows are widely spaced and the vines trellised. Prue Henschke has selected individual old vines from which to propagate massal selections to replace missing vines and maintain the genetic heritage of this site. Other older parcels still in production were planted in 1910 and the 1950s.

The wine

Grapes from the different parcels are picked and vinified separately, as there can be variations of three weeks between the start and end of harvest, as well as variations between individual blocks. The grapes are partially destemmed, and fermented in open-top vats. Extraction is by pumpovers, and after the initial alcoholic fermentation, the temperature is cooled to prolong the vinification process. The wine is transferred still warm into new oak barrels, mostly American but also French. There it stays for two years, without racking or fining, and the final blend is made up shortly before bottling.

The reaction

When the wine was very young, Australian critic Jeremy Olivier wrote: €’Pure, concentrated, bright, almost essential expression of vibrant, youthful Shiraz, that should develop especially well.’

US critic, Stephen Tanzer, found ‘explosive if idiosyncratic aromas. Pungent and penetrating, with compelling flavours of raspberry, tobacco, black olive, dried rose, mocha, herbs and spices, plus a strong underlying minerality. (I was variously reminded of Lafite, Haut-Brion and Ausone!)’€

The more fastidious Australian critic Huon Hooke noted in Decanter: ‘Quite vegetal/spicy Eden Valley Shiraz aromas, attractive. Elegant but powerful, ripe palate with spicy/plummy fruit, hint of liquorice/anise, and fine tannins. Palate structure is smooth and quite lovely. A magical wine with a great future.’€

Australia’€s leading wine writer James Halliday was enthusiastic too, noting that it has ‘an indefinite life in front of it’.

  • Subscribe to Decanter and get the latest wine legends every month…


More Wine Legends:

  • Wine Legend: Ridge, California Cabernet Sauvignon 1970

  • Wine Legend: HM Borges, Terrantez 1862

  • Wine Legend: Egon Müller-Scharzhof TBA 1976

The post Wine Legend: Henschke, Hill of Grace 1998 appeared first on Decanter.


Read full article on decanter.com


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.