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.
Vina Montes Pioneers winery
Viña Montes' visionary Feng Shui designed winery

Promotional feature. How Montes broke the mould...

The post Magnificent Montes: Pioneers of premium Chilean Wine appeared first on Decanter.


Vina Montes Pioneers winery
Viña Montes' visionary Feng Shui designed winery

Promotional feature. How Montes broke the mould...

The post Magnificent Montes: Pioneers of premium Chilean Wine appeared first on Decanter.

Vina Montes Pioneers winery
Viña Montes' visionary Feng Shui designed winery

Back in the late 1980s, Aurelio Montes and Douglas Murray, two leading lights in Chile’s wine industry, decided to make real their long hoped-for dream of producing fine wines in Chile. The state of country’s wine industry was worlds away from today’s. Outdated practices and attitudes were the norm, making indifferent wines the result. Aurelio and Douglas, as founding partners of Montes Wines, wanted to break the mould; to innovate and produce the wines they knew could be made in Chile’s heaven-sent climate and soils.

Aurelio has always been recognised as an oenologist of great skill who combines outstanding winemaking with a canny commercial instinct. He was one of the first winemakers in Chile to travel and sell his own wines internationally. When Montes began it was in answer to a specific need: the wines Chile was producing were not, on the whole, of a good enough quality for global demand. Consumers were in search for high quality wines, a need Montes identified and responded to.

Aurelio Montes

Aurelio Montes in Chiloé

Pioneering winemaking has always been the Montes Wines hallmark. Montes was the first to plant vineyards on the 45° hillside slopes of Apalta, an innovative idea that came with great financial risk.

“I got to know the area of Apalta in the Colchagua Valley when I was 21,” Aurelio says, “It was love at first sight. There were no vineyards then, just a boulder-strewn hillside. But I knew it was a hidden viticultural gem. My partners and I bought the land in 1990, cleared it at great cost, and planted vines on those steep slopes. That is where our icon wines, Montes Alpha M, Purple Angel, and Montes Folly were born. Everyone told us we were crazy, that it was much more manageable to plant on the flat valley floor. However, in a few years we managed to produce nearly 600,000 bottles of high-quality wine. There are certain aspects of planting on hillsides that can be managed better, such as the amount of irrigation and nutrition for the vines, which allows more control over grape quality and quantity”.

Later on came another challenge to conventional viticulture. Montes decided to plant a vineyard close to the cool Chilean coast. The chosen location was Zapallar, better known for its upmarket holiday resort, at the western end of the Aconcagua Valley and just seven kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. A coastal location for a vineyard had never been seriously considered before, but its demanding climatic conditions have yielded the Outer Limits range of concentrated, characterful wines.

“I like to think these are wines for daring and adventurous people. For explorers who want to try new flavours, aromas, sensations and experiences. By drinking these wines, we want you to be swept up by a sense of exploration,” comments Aurelio.

Apalta vineyards

The Apalta vineyards

Concerned about sustainability and the environment, Montes Wines adopted their Dry Farming management system in 2009. Under this methodology, only the bare minimum quantity of artificial irrigation is applied to the vines, saving precious water and enhancing berry concentration and varietal character.

Montes Wines’ latest “crazy” idea began in 2017, when the winery decided to plant vines in the Chiloé archipelago, 1,200 kilometres south of Santiago. A place rich in folklore and legend, at a latitude of 42.5° it’s one of the southernmost locations attempted for a vineyard in Chile.

Thorough studies of temperature, precipitation, and soils, carried out in collaboration with the University of Chile and the University of Talca have established that, because of climate change, the small island of Mechuque could be a suitable spot for growing cool-climate varietals. So Montes has begun trialling Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir on the remote island. It is hoped that the first wines from this distant and magical place in the south of Chile will be produced in 2022.

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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.

Laurel Gray Vineyards

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