French vineyards are the pride of the country, and every year millions of bottles of wine are sold around the world. But do you really know how wine is made? Discover the 8 stages of wine production.
VINE AND GRAPE VARIETY: THE CULTIVATION OF GRAPES
All wine production begins with the cultivation of the vine. Many criteria determine the characteristics and quality of the wine:
- The grape variety: This is the species of vine cultivated;
- The terroir: The climate, the nature of the soil and the water supply determine the typicality of the wine;
- The treatments used, which may be very limited in the context of organic farming, or on the contrary based on synthetic chemical fertilisers...
THE TYPE OF HARVEST
Harvesting can be done in the traditional way, with a hand pickingor in mechanical harvestingThe fruit is then sorted using an agricultural machine. Depending on the technique, the fruit will be more or less damaged and sorted differently.
Harvesting usually takes place at the end of the summer, but some estates opt for late harvestThis is done about a month later and allows the grapes to ripen.
Once picked and sorted, the grapes are placed in a wooden, stainless steel or concrete vat, where they undergo the alcoholic fermentation. The process takes 8 to 10 days, and allows transforming the sugar in the grapes into alcohol. This is achieved through careful temperature control and regular stirring.
The wine in preparation then goes to the stage of maceration. Its duration will depend on the wine to be macerated: a few hours for rosé wine, and up to 20 days for red wine. During this process, the tannins, aromas and colour of the grape skin and pulp are transferred to the juice, which gradually becomes wine.
Draining is to separate the free-run wine. The marc, which consists of the skin and pips of the grape, is then pressed to obtain wine. The latter, composed of the skin and pips of the grape, is then pressed to obtain press wine which is much more powerful than free-run wine. One can then choose the tannin concentration of the wine, by adding more or less free-run wine to the press wine.
Then comes the stage of transformation of malic acid into lactic acidwith a second fermentation, called malolactic fermentation. The wine in the tank is then heated to activate the development of bacteria. The aim here is to reduce the acidity of the wine and make it more supple.
Placed in stainless steel tanks or barrels, the wine then rests for several months during which the structure and aromas of the wine evolve. During thebreedingThe wine will then soften and its aromas will become more complex.
After removing the wine from the vat, and removing the coarse lees, we move on to the bottling. The wine bottle is then closed with a cork, or capsule.
The wine production goes through many steps, some of which are optional. The 8 stages of vinification The methods described here are still mandatory to obtain a quality wine.