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.

Read our bite-size guide to Barbera d'Asti wines, including taste profile, soil make-up and key terms to look for on labels.

Created by Decanter in partnership with the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti & Monferrato.

Barbera vines.
Barbera vines.

How well do you know Barbera?...

The post Barbera d’Asti wines: Five things to know appeared first on Decanter.


Read our bite-size guide to Barbera d'Asti wines, including taste profile, soil make-up and key terms to look for on labels.

Created by Decanter in partnership with the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti & Monferrato.

Barbera vines.
Barbera vines.

How well do you know Barbera?...

The post Barbera d’Asti wines: Five things to know appeared first on Decanter.

Read our bite-size guide to Barbera d'Asti wines, including taste profile, soil make-up and key terms to look for on labels.

Created by Decanter in partnership with the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti & Monferrato.

Barbera vines.
Barbera vines.

Created by Decanter in partnership with the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti & Monferrato.

 

Barbera d’Asti is a red wine made from Barbera grown in this grape variety’s native zone, the Monferrato hills of central Piedmont.

The wine became a DOC in 1970, and was promoted to DOCG in 2008. Barbera d’Asti is made from 90-100% Barbera.

The blend

Barbera, of course, but up to 10% of non-aromatic red wine grapes may be blended in–typically Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are grown in 169 communes of which 118 comprise the entire province of Asti, and 51 comprise part of the province of Alessandria.

The grapes

Barbera’s distinctively large, oval berries make it an easy grape variety to spot in vineyard. The vines must be planted at a minimum 4,000 vines/hectare (1,600 vines/acre).

They may be pruned either to long canes or short spurs. Grape yields are 9 tonnes per hectare (63 hl/ha or 25 hl/acre) for both Barbera d’Asti DOCG normale and Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore.

Minimum alcohol levels are 12% for Barbera d’Asti normale, and 12.5% for Barbera d’Asti Superiore, although some wines can reach 14.5% alcohol.

How to read the label

Barbera d’Asti DOCG and Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore may carry the name of a ‘Vigna’, meaning the name of a locally recognised place or sub-zone on the label. Yields for both ‘Vigna’ and ‘Vigna Superiore’ wines 8 tonnes per hectare, with a minimum alcohol of 12.5% (again for both).

Barbera d’Asti DOCG normale, with or without a ‘vigna’ designation, can be released from 01st March following harvest.

There is no requirement for oak ageing for either typology. Both Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore and Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore ‘Vigna’ must age at least six months in oak, and can be released 14 months starting from 1st November in the year of harvest.

All the wine denominations cited above allow yields to be augmented by up to 20% in favourable years.

The soil

Two broad styles of Barbera d’Asti dictacted by soil type exist. Wines from from northern part of the zone from calcareous soils give the deepest-coloured wines. Those from the southern part on sandier soils give more fluid, lighter-coloured wines.

How Barbera wines typicaly taste and age

Typical flavours are red fruits from the darker end of the spectrum. Around 5-8 years Barbera’s fruit dims, becoming more savoury, slightly feral and forest-floor like.

In barrel aged examples Barbera’s already delicate fruit tannins will have softened into such subservient lushness it can leave the oak tannins exposed. Hence, it can pay to drink oaked Barbera from 2-6 years, and well-grown unoaked Barberas from 1-8 years.


  • SEE ALSO: How Barbera wines match with food


This article was created by Decanter.com editorial in partnership with the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti & Monferrato.


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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.