If you are reading this article it is because you probably like this drink of Gods (if not, let’s have a moment of silence for all you are missing out on), but have you ever wondered how red wine is made? Yes, we know it comes from grapes, but how does it end up becoming something so amazing?
Today we explain it to you.
Warning before we start:
The different stages of the wine process have peculiar names, but don’t worry, we’ll explain it to you in the simplest way, so you can impress any of your dates! You’re welcome ????
Let’s get started!
It all starts with the grape harvest, which is the grape harvest that traditionally takes place in Spain between the months of September and October. The exact moment of harvesting is when the grapes show an ideal state of ripeness, as this is the only way to extract a quality wine from them.
This is the process by which the grape berries are separated from the green part of the bunch. The stalk or stem (the skeleton of the bunch) is discarded, except in some areas such as Burgundy, where the grapes are only partially destemmed, or in Rioja, where the carbonic maceration method is used for some wines, where part of the fermentation is carried out with the whole bunch.
Although traditionally this destemming was done by hand, nowadays a machine is normally used: the destemmer. The objective is to discard the green parts of the bunch (stalk and leaves) that can contribute taste and bitter aromas to the wine during the subsequent maceration-fermentation.
The must, pips and skins, macerate during the entire time they are in the vat. It can last between one and 4 weeks depending on the type of wine. The skins are the ones that give color to the must and, together with the pips, are also the ones that give the wine its structure.
Bazuqueo or pumping-over:
During fermentation, the skins and pips rise to the top of the tank and form what is called the cap. This is a kind of solid paste that must be soaked in the wine to extract aromas, color and tannins. The wine can be pumped up by taking it from the lower part and pouring it over the top with a pump. Or dip the cap into the wine manually or mechanically.
During fermentation, yeasts transform the sugar in the pulp into alcohol (Cheers for them!). This can be done by indigenous yeasts (those that are naturally present in the grapes) or commercial yeasts. Fermentation can last between 7 and 20 days.
Decanting and pressing of the pomace:
The wine is separated from the pomace. The first wine is called: “vino flor” or “vino de yema”. The pomace is pressed to extract the rest of the wine, which is called press wine. It is more loaded with tannins and has more color than the first wine.
Aging and malolactic fermentation:
In vat or barrel, the wine is kept for a period of between weeks or quite a few months depending on whether the wine is to be marketed as young or crianza. During this phase, the aromas and structure of the wine evolve and acquire character.
At the same time, the second fermentation takes place during three to four weeks: malolactic fermentation. The wine becomes less acidic and more stable.
Racking and, eventually, sulfiting:
Yeasts and other sediments fall to the bottom and are removed. Sulfites may be added at this point to protect the wine from oxygen.
Blending or coupage:
Some wines, at this point, blend different tanks, varieties or separately vinified parcels.
Eventual clarification and filtration:
To remove suspended particles, we can use protein fining agents (such as egg whites) or in the case of Zeena, products of vegetable origin (that’s why we are vegan). In this way we obtain a cleaner and brighter wine. It can also be filtered.
Ready to can and enjoy your #aSipOfFreedom!
So you know, if your doctor recommends you to eat fruit, let’s drink wine! (and if not, please specify).