How wine is made? Winemaking II
Now that you know the first steps…let’s elaborate a bit! Click to enlarge the image.
Step 5: Pressing the Grapes
After the fermentation process, the must is transferred to a wine press. The winemaker starts to inflate the balloon that is in the pressing tank. This balloon fills up and squeezes the grapes onto the sides of the tank, extracting more must.
The winemaker has to strike a balance between extracting the baby wine out of the must and not breaking the seeds. If these seeds are broken, astringent and sometimes bitter character leaches into the wine. The more pressure that is applied on the grapes, the more juice that can be extracted, but too much and the wine can be bitter.
Step 5b: Malolactic Fermentation
Most red wines undergo the process of Malolactic Fermentation. This step converts the sharp, green apple-y Malic Acid to the creamy and round Lactic Acid and reduces the overall acidity by a bit. It gives the wine a buttery taste and lends a softer mouthfeel to the wine.
Step 6: Aging
Red wine is generally aged for a few months before being bottled. Sometimes this is in oak barrel, stainless steel, concrete…but we’ll talk a bit more about this in future lessons!
Step 7: Bottling
This step is exactly what it seems, putting the wine into a bottle and closing it with a closure of cork, synthetic cork, screwcap, or glass
- Cork – made of the bark of cork trees, natural, potentially can transfer ‘cork taint’ to wine
- Synthetic Cork - made of plastic, may allow for more oxygen penetration
- Screwcap – made of aluminum. Does not designate a low quality wine. Works great for about 10 years.
- Glass or Plastic - made of glass or plastic (obviously). Creates a vacuum seal to prevent oxidation but is pretty expensive.
Step 8: Aging
Generally, red wine is left to settle for a few months prior to being labelled and sent to you to enjoy!
Wine Question: If I gave you a Chianti, what type of wine varietal would be in the bottle?