In this post, we go over what are the five stages of winemaking.
What Are The 5 Stages Of Winemaking
We know it’s made of grapes, but what are the different stages during the process?
The art of making wine has been used for many thousands of years. However, making wine isn’t just an art form; there’s also lots of science that goes into the process.
Minor errors during the process could cause significant damage to the end product. The winemaking process is generally through five different stages.
While the winemakers compulsorily follow these five steps, they add their variations to the process to add an exclusive touch to their wine.
Step 1 – Harvesting
The first step in the process of making wine is to harvest. The grapes have all the essential acids, esters, tannins, and esters which make delicious wine.
The time grapes are harvested from the vineyard decides the wine’s sweetness, taste, and acidity.
In addition to the traditional tasting method, choosing when to harvest the grapes requires some scientific research.
It is crucial to ensure that the acidity and sweetness in the wine are balanced when picking the grapes. Not to mention, the weather plays a crucial part in harvesting.
Harvesting can be done by hand or by machines. However, many winemakers prefer to do it by hand as machines are known to affect the grapes and the vineyard negatively.
When the grapes are harvested, they are transported to the winery and separated into bunches. Grapes that are rotten and underripe are taken away.
Step 2 – Crushing
After the grapes have been sorted into bunches, it is time to cut the bunches to crush them. Again, the crushing process could be accomplished with a foot in earlier times.
If you’ve ever been on a wine tour, most wineries permit you to smash the grapes with your feet as an element of your tour.
However, the majority of the winemakers now do this crushing process mechanically. Mechanical presses are available that trod or stomp the grapes into ‘must.’
Must is nothing more than fresh grape juice that results from crushing and includes seeds, solids, and skins of grapes.
While winemakers prefer avoiding machines in the harvesting process as it affects the grapes negatively, in the crushing process, machines have made the process more sanitary and helped increase the quality and longevity of the grapes.
When white wine is produced, the solids, seeds, and skins are separated from the grape juice to keep the tannins and the color from leaking into the wine.
However, when red wine is produced by blending solids, seeds and skins can remain in contact with the juice, allowing the juice to acquire more tannins, flavor, and color.
Step 3 – Fermentation
Pressing and crushing are followed by fermentation. It must naturally ferment 6 to 12 hours after wild yeast is added to it.
However, many winemakers use cultured yeasts in their must to anticipate the outcome and also ensure consistency.
This fermentation continues until all the sugar is transformed into alcohol, producing dry wine.
When sweet wines are made, winemakers must stop the process by stopping the sugar from being converted.
The entire fermentation process can take about a week or even more.
Step 4 – Clarification
After the fermentation process is complete, It’s time to clarify. This is the procedure where proteins, tannins, and dead yeast are removed from the wine.
The wine is then put into stainless barrels or steel tanks.
The filtration or fining process is used for clarification. For clarification, substances are also added to result in the fining process.
Some winemakers will add clay to their wine so that the unwanted particles stick and sink to the floor of their barrel or storage tank.
In the filtration process, filters are used to catch larger particles.
After the clarification, the wine is transferred to another tank to be conditioned for bottling or aging.
Step 5 – Bottling and aging
The final step of this process is aging as well as bottling. The wine may be immediately stored in bottles, or the winemaker could add additional aging to the wine.
The wine is then transferred to oak barrels or stainless steel tanks to age the wine. Bottles.
Many winemakers prefer using oak barrels for aging as it is known to add a rounder, smoother, and more vanilla-like flavor to the wine.
Additionally, it aids by increasing their oxygen intake, reducing tannins, and permitting the wine to get the perfect flavor.
In the case of white wine, stainless steel tanks are the most popular choice.
When the aging process has finished, the wine is bottle-aged using a cork or screw cap.
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