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.

Matt Walls explains why we should be drinking mature wines this winter, and picks out 10 shining examples from the Rhône.

Château de Beaucastel wines
Do you have any Château de Beaucastel wines in your cellar?

Matt Walls picks out some special bottles...

The post Mature Rhône from the cellar for Christmas appeared first on Decanter.


Matt Walls explains why we should be drinking mature wines this winter, and picks out 10 shining examples from the Rhône.

Château de Beaucastel wines
Do you have any Château de Beaucastel wines in your cellar?

Matt Walls picks out some special bottles...

The post Mature Rhône from the cellar for Christmas appeared first on Decanter.

Matt Walls explains why we should be drinking mature wines this winter, and picks out 10 shining examples from the Rhône.

Château de Beaucastel wines
Do you have any Château de Beaucastel wines in your cellar?

Most Côtes-du-Rhônes are juicily drinkable on release, but certain Rhône appellations produce wines that go on developing for decades.

‘We are lucky,’ says Vincent Avril of Clos des Papes in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, ‘we can make wines that can age – so I think we should.’

Young wines offer vibrancy, brightness and refreshment, but only in maturity do they reach their full aromatic complexity and textural harmony.


Scroll down to see Matt’s top 10 mature Rhône wines for drinking this Christmas


When should I drink my wine?

Relatively simple Rhônes are best drunk within their first four years of life, but the most powerful, tannic reds are best drunk either in the first two years after bottling or after eight years, as they risk entering a closed, inexpressive phase in between.

Northern Rhône

These Syrah-based wines can last for decades. The best estates in Hermitage produce wines that last for 50 years or more in great vintages, reds and whites alike, but most are particularly enjoyable between 12 and 20 years as they become complex, assertive and smoky.

The best of Côte-Rôtie are similarly long-lived, but most show their best between eight and 18 years as their subtler woodland aromas come to the fore.

Cornas follows a similar arc, needing seven or eight years to file down its serrated tannins and tease out it’s more buried scents.

Crozes-Hermitage and most St-Joseph will be ready sooner.

Southern Rhône

Châteauneuf-du-Pape makes the longest-lived reds in the south of the region, with top vintages stored in reliable conditions hitting their stride at around 15 to 20 years – though the best can develop for 40 years or more. The very best whites can also last 20 years with ease.

Top Gigondas also benefits from age, as a stunning 1983 Moulin de la Gardette proved earlier this year, though between eight and 15 years is a more typical window of peak maturity.

The best reds from other southern crus are usually enjoyable from release, hitting maturity after four years and lasting eight to 10 years.


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Mature Rhône from the cellar for Christmas


Tips for choosing the right bottle

With age, any excess alcohol, sweetness or oak will become more apparent – so starting with a well-balanced wine is crucial.

Older wines lose their youthful impact, becoming more mellow and subtle in flavour and texture. Most mature Châteauneufs, for example, will have shed their youthful vibrancy and primary juicy fruit flavours. Tannins soften, but they retain a broad generosity and richness on the palate, and often take on sous-bois, autumn leaf, truffle or roasted meat aromas.

Consider what you’re eating

If it’s a powerfully flavoured dish of roast beef, lamb or venison, choose a Châteauneuf, Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie or Cornas from a respected producer in a good vintage – and even then, not overly mature.

If you’re having a more delicately flavoured dish, such as roast turkey, chicken, game bird or pork, then your options are more open; a mature white or red from most Rhône appellations is unlikely to clash.

What will I be drinking on Christmas day? We’re having roast cockerel with all the trimmings, so I’ve got three on my current mental shortlist – subject to change several times a day of course – Domaine Barge Duplessy Côte-Rôtie 2006, Château des Tours Vacqueyras 2010, and Delas Domaine des Tourettes Hermitage Blanc 2016.

Which would you choose?


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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.