Wine makes part of every meal to most people who love it. It is not difficult to come up with your own wine. All that you need is to master the five steps which are important but basic in wine-making. Basically, the wine-making process includes only five steps, which include the harvesting of the grapes, crushing and pressing the harvested grapes, fermentation, clarification and finally ageing and packing.
Step 1: Harvesting
This is the first step in the process of making wine. Grapes contain esters and tannins which are the major ingredient for attractive wine. The grapes are therefore picked from the garden gently preferably by use of hands so that the grapes are not crushed from the garden and as well the vineyard to remain intact. This is because the moment the grapes are crashed during harvesting they can start fermenting hence the wine to be obtained may not be as delicious as expected due to uneven fermentation.
Step 2: Crushing and pressing
After the grapes have been harvested and sorted, they are then crushed. Traditionally this was done manually by simply tromping on the grape by food. However, today this can be done mechanically. After crushing, a mixture of the seeds, the juice, and the skin is formed which is called a must. When making the white wine, the seeds and the skin are removed from the juice. However, for the red wine, the must is left with both the seeds and the skin to give it the red colour.
Step 3: Fermentation
This is the third step. The ‘must’ can either be allowed to ferment naturally because of the yeast in the air for within 6-12 hours. However, to make the process fast and to be able to plan for the final product, cultured yeast can be added. The time span for fermentation is determined by the winemaker. For those who want wine with less alcohol concentration, the fermentation process can be stopped fast so that all the sugar is not given time to convert to alcohol.
Step 4: Clarification
After fermentation, all the solid materials like the seeds and the skin of the grapes are removed. A filter can be used as the juice is being transferred to another container. If this is done perfectly, the wine being made can be very smooth with no foreign particles. It is advisable to transfer the wine into a stainless steel tank as opposed to plastic tanks.
Step 5: Aging and packing
Finally, the clarified wine is given time before it is packed or bottled. This is what is referred to as aging. It is important to allow the wine to age so that it becomes smoother. Aging also allows the wine to be exposed in the air so that tannin can be reduced hence helping the wine to attain its maximum sweetness.
Finally, the wine can be packed or bottled in either a cork or a screw cap according to the desire of the winemaker.
If the five steps which are explained are followed, a winemaker is guaranteed that he or she is going to end up with the most delicious wine. It is a good idea to make your own wine as you become sure of its level of hygiene