Red or White
“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.” ― Paulo Coelho
8 PM Sunday morning, is quite often spent by lazing around in a wicker chair in the balcony, overlooking the beautiful frame of nature. But not this time for us, we were on the highway of to Sula a winery in the outskirts of Bangalore, near Mysore. We were on the quest to understand what is the magical process behind one of the worlds most consumed drink. We got there by around 12 and bought our tickets and waited for the 12:15 tour.
So here is the magic,
jump on the journey and enjoy!!!!
Grapes provides the sufficient and reliable amount of sugar to yield the required amount of alcohol to preserve the beverage. It also provides the requisite amount of acids, esters and tannins to make the wine on a consistent basis. The grapes must be harvested at a precise time, so as to maintain the required qualities of the grape. The grapes are then tested by winemakers, vineyard managers, consultants, scientist and proprietors. Usually, the grapes are harvested manually, as the mechanical harvesters can often be tough on the grapes. The grapes are then sorted, the good ones go to the crusher or presser and the bad ones are thrown away.
Crushing - Red Wine
Red grapes are crushed, so as to retain the skin. The skin plays an important part in the red wine making process, by giving the colour, flavour and additional tannins to the beverage during fermentation. Traditionally the grapes are stomped by men and women in barrels into the must. But, now days there are mechanical crushers that are used. Mechanical crushing has improved the quality and longevity of red wine.
Pressing - White Wine
Green grapes are pressed so that the skin is separated thereby preventing the colour of the grapes from mixing with the white wine. It also prevents the tannins from leaching the white wine. To increase the level of sugar for some white wines, the green grapes are left to dry and then are crushed to make the wine.
Naturally, the must or juice begin to ferment within 6 to 12 hours along with the help of wild yeast in the air. However to make the process faster, we tend to intertwine at this stage, by adding yeast at this point. In this way we can predict the end result too. Once the fermentation has begun, it continues until all the sugar is converted to alcohol, thereby producing a dry wine. Fermentation can last for 10 days to a month. The level of alcohol is continuously checked and tested until we reach the desired level. The resulting level of alcohol in a wine will vary from one locale to the next, due to the total sugar content of the must. An alcohol level of 10% in cool climates versus a high of 15% in warmer areas is considered normal. Sweet wine is produced when the fermentation process stops before all of the sugar has been converted into alcohol. This is usually a conscious, intentional decision on the part of the winemaker.
Winemakers either rack or siphon their wines from one tank or barrel to the next. This allows the precipitates and solids called pomace to settle to the bottom.Filtration can be done with everything from a course filter that catches only large solids to a sterile filter pad that strips wine of all life. Fining occurs when substances are added to a wine to clarify them like egg whites, clay, or other compounds that precipitate dead yeast cells and other solids. The clarified wine is then racked into another vessel.
Aging and Bottling
The final stage of this wonderful process is to age the wine in wooden barrels. The choices and techniques employed in this final stage of the process are nearly endless, as are the end results. Red wine is usual aged for about 3 years and white wine for 7 months.
Then tasting the wine, which was a wonderful experience, that I will cherish in my life.
Here is how to taste the wine…..
Step 1: Look at the wine, the colour and clarity.
Step 2: Swirl the wine to oxygenate the wine. (We only swirl red wines)
Step 3: Smell the wine, does it smell acidic or citrus. Step 4: Taste the wine, is it woody or does it taste like charcoal, etc.
Step 5: Savour the wine, give it a twirl in your mouth and think about the taste.
And that’s how this amazing beverage, wine loved by millions is made and tasted.