How To Make Red Wine

The process to winemaking is simple in theory, but in practice it can vary dramatically depending on the winemaker. Wine Folly's infographic highlights the general steps to how all red wines are made.

Part 1: Grow & Harvest
A grape vine starts to produce grapes approximately 3 years after planting. Regardless of how old the vine is, grapes will only grow on stalks that are one year old. To keep the stalks under one year of age, viticulturists will prune their vineyards back every year stimulate new growth.

Part 2: Crushing Grapes
Unlike commercial grapes, wine grapes generally are de-stemmed to reduce the harsh vegetal-tasting tannin. Some wineries utilize sorting table conveyer belts to inspect the harvest for leaves or bad grapes. The grapes are then crushed and placed in an environment that is conducive for yeast growth and fermentation.

Part 3: Fermentation: Sugar into Alcohol
The fermentation begins with yeast cultures consuming sugars from the grapes and converting it into alcohol. There are many different kinds of yeast. Some are created naturally while others are added to control flavor. Red wines are generally fermented in warmer temperatures as opposed to white wines. Additionally, red wines usually ferment until all the sugar is consumed, creating a drier wine. Red wines get their rich deep color from being fermented with the skins.

Part 4: Fining, Filtering and Bottling
Red wines are aged anywhere from 4 months to 4 years before bottled. During the aging process, winemakers will begin ‘fining’ the wine to make it clear. Additives are used to glom onto dissolved proteins. After fining, winemakers filter the wine and bottle it. Some red wines are not fined or filtered to add more body. It's recommended that unfiltered wines are decanted before drinking.

Via: City Wine Cellar

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