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.

This curiously geeky and arcane question was posed at a magnificent and memorable dinner at the Pauillac First Growth held earlier this month to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Lafite by Baron James de Rothschild in 1868.

carruades lafite
Carruades, the 'second wine' of Lafite Rothschild.

A riddle posed to diners during a Lafite Rothschild 150th anniversary dinner...

The post When is a Carruades not a Lafite? Ask Decanter appeared first on Decanter.


This curiously geeky and arcane question was posed at a magnificent and memorable dinner at the Pauillac First Growth held earlier this month to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Lafite by Baron James de Rothschild in 1868.

carruades lafite
Carruades, the 'second wine' of Lafite Rothschild.

A riddle posed to diners during a Lafite Rothschild 150th anniversary dinner...

The post When is a Carruades not a Lafite? Ask Decanter appeared first on Decanter.

This curiously geeky and arcane question was posed at a magnificent and memorable dinner at the Pauillac First Growth held earlier this month to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Lafite by Baron James de Rothschild in 1868.

carruades lafite
Carruades, the 'second wine' of Lafite Rothschild.

Lafite, comprising 74ha in 1868, had been put under public sale earlier that year.

Baron James, from the French branch of the family, had to bid against a powerful group of negociants, who pushed him to pay a very high price for Lafite.

Sadly though, he had little opportunity enjoy his acquisition. He died less than three months later and the property passed to his three children, Alphonse, Gustave and Edmond.

The story of the purchase was told by James’ great-great grandson, the current Baron Eric de Rothschild who has overseen Lafite with great distinction since 1973.

Significantly, Baron Eric co-hosted the dinner for 350 in Lafite’s imposing barrel cellar, with his daughter Saskia who at 31, has just taken over as the chatelaine of Lafite and as chairman of its portfolio of wine estates – in France, Chile and China, Domaines de Barons Rothschild (Lafite).

As previously reported by Decanter.com, her succession marks a major generational changing of the guard at DBR.

A couple of years ago Eric Kohler took over from long time winemaker Charles Chevalier. And most recently, Jean-Guillaume Prats (formerly of Cos d’Estournel and LVMH’s wine estates group) now occupies the post previously held by Christophe Salin.

At the celebratory dinner, we didn’t taste anything like the number of library vintages which my colleague Jane Anson enjoyed, and subsequently wrote up for Decanter Premium members.

But we did enjoy some truly glorious Lafites, beginning with a trio of classics ending in ‘9’.

First up was a sumptuously elegant 2009 vintage, followed by a powerfully structured and still youthful 1989.

Then came the star of the show in the form of the truffley thoroughbred 1959, still firmly in its pomp. And just to prove Lafite’s legendary ageability, we finished with a centenarian from the cellar – the 1918 no less.

Intriguingly though, that wasn’t the final wine. Instead, that honour fell to a mystery wine which was served blind.

‘What I’d like each table to do,’ said the Baron, ‘is to try and identify what the wine is. All I will tell you is that it isn’t a Lafite.’

The wine was clearly ancient – certainly much older than the 1918.

My random guess was an 1890 Duhart Milon. But in the end our table plumped for an 1868 Cos d’Estournel by virtue of the fact that Cos is Lafite’s neigbour and because it certainly looked 150 years of age.

Of course, it was neither.

Instead, Baron Eric finally revealed that it was an 1875 Carruades, explaining that the plots of vines on the Carruades plateau to the west of the Château had been acquired by Lafite in 1845.

However, the vines were not incorporated into the estate until the beginning of the 20th century, making it a Carruades that didn’t come from Lafite.

Did anyone get remotely close? Yes, they did. Incredibly, one table managed to nail both the wine and vintage. But quite how they managed it, I still have no idea….


Carruades de Lafite Rothschild at a glance

Average production: 20,000 cases

Ageing: 18 to 20 months, 80% in oak, with 10% new oak

Composition: 50 to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 to 50% Merlot and Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot 0 to 5%, depending on the vintage


Related articles

Tasting 150 years of Lafite Rothschild wines – Jane Anson

Generational handover announced at Château Lafite Rothschild


Find more wine questions answered at our ‘ask Decanter’ homepage

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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.