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.

Fiona Beckett, Decanter's chief restaurant critic, shares her guide to cooking with wine from her latest recipe book, Wine lover's kitchen, out now...

cooking with wine
The 10 rules for cooking with wine.

Everything you need to know...

The post 10 things to know about cooking with wine appeared first on Decanter.


Fiona Beckett, Decanter's chief restaurant critic, shares her guide to cooking with wine from her latest recipe book, Wine lover's kitchen, out now...

cooking with wine
The 10 rules for cooking with wine.

Everything you need to know...

The post 10 things to know about cooking with wine appeared first on Decanter.

Fiona Beckett, Decanter's chief restaurant critic, shares her guide to cooking with wine from her latest recipe book, Wine lover's kitchen, out now...

cooking with wine
The 10 rules for cooking with wine.

10 things to know about cooking with wine

Like any other ingredient you need to understand how wine works in a dish and the best techniques for using it. Here are 10 things to remember:

1) The wine you use needs to be drinkable. By that I mean it must be clean and fresh and, obviously, not corked. It shouldn’t taste like vinegar or be so old it’s lost all its fruit. If you have leftover wine decant it into a smaller bottle or container so that the air doesn’t get to it. Wine that’s been left open for 4–5 days is probably OK. Wine that’s been sitting in your cupboard for 4–5 months generally isn’t.

2) That doesn’t mean it has to be the wine you normally drink. I’ve had great success using sweeter wines such as white Grenache or blush Zinfandel which are not particularly to my taste but which are great in a recipe or cocktail.

3) Don’t use wines labelled as cooking wines which tend to be particularly poor quality and not that much of a saving over a cheap bottle of wine.

Cooking with wine

Credit: Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small

4) On the other hand don’t feel you have to use an expensive wine. The only circumstances in which I’d advocate it is if a dish needs only a small amount of wine and you’d otherwise have to open another bottle. To steal a glass from the bottle you’re planning to drink may be the cheapest way to make the dish.

5) You need a less good wine if you’re cooking a slow-cooked dish like a stew than if you’re quickly deglazing a pan. A good trick is to add a small dash of better wine at the end of a long braise which makes it taste as if that’s the wine you’ve cooked with.

6) The most versatile wines are crisp, dry, unoaked whites such as Pinot Grigio and medium-bodied but not overly tannic reds like Merlot. Wines with a pronounced aromatic character such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer are less flexible, but may turn out to be delicious with, for example, a creamy sauce. Feel free to experiment.

Cooking with wine

Credit: Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small

7) Fortified wines such as Sherry, Madeira and Marsala are great for cooking. A small quantity adds strength, depth and often a welcome sweetness.

8) Reducing a wine by simmering will accentuate its dominant character such as sweetness, tannin or acidity. But it’s a useful way of concentrating flavour when you want to add a small amount to a dish or dressing.

9) A wine-based marinade will tenderize meat but it will change the flavour and make it more ‘gamey’ if you do it for longer than a couple of hours. You should also discard the marinade unless you’re going to cook it well.

10) Even in recipes that feature a significant amount of wine you usually need another ingredient such as stock, cream or passata/strained tomatoes to balance it. A homemade chicken or vegetable stock is a boon. Freeze leftover wine in an ice cube tray and keep the cubes handy in a freezer bag to add to a dish.

Finally, a question I’m often asked. If you cook with wine is there any alcohol left in the dish?

There is a widespread misconception that it all cooks out but unless you’re cooking the dish for 3 hours or more there will be a residue depending on how much wine you’ve used. Worth bearing in mind if you’re cooking for kids or non-drinkers.

cooking with wine

Extract taken from Wine Lover’s Kitchen by Fiona Beckett, Ryland Peters & Small (£16.99). Edited for Decanter.com by Ellie Douglas.

Photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small


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  • 10 rules of food and wine pairing

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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.