Wine making 101

Winemaking or vinification is the production of wine, starting with the selection of the fruit, its fermentation into alcohol, and the bottling of the finished liquid. The history of wine-making stretches over millennia. The science of wine and winemaking is known as oenology. A winemaker may also be called a vintner.

The wine making process

A wine makers’ job is to be the choreographer of the entire wine making process. From choosing the land to grow on; to making sure the grapes are of the highest quality. The winemaker is an artist who deciphers how to conduct the fermenting, maturing, blending and stabilization process all the way from grape to bottle.

The viticulturist is in control of the vineyard – from choosing what grapes to grow and when to harvest; as well as pruning, shoot thinning and bunch thinning (veraison).

Unlike beer production which is all about inputs, the wine-making process is a special one (more like art) and which cannot be automated. From the vineyard to processing at the winery, the grapes journey to bottle is unique each time.

Let me pose a question – What is your favourite champagne?

A general rule with winemakers is that they strive for consistency within each vintage. Champagne is a great example, where most commonly it tastes the same year on year… and it’s a fairly safe bet the Verve Cliquot is going to be the same as last time. During French wine-making, sugar may be added during the wine making process to discount variations from the previous years harvest and due weather conditions. In Australia, adding sugar is not allowed, however winemakers may add acid (change the pH) to account for significant climate variation between vintage and same labels.

Generally, wine making can be broken down into a 5 step process:

  1. Harvesting. The first step in making wine is harvesting. …
  2. Crushing. Once the grapes are sorted in bunches, now it is time to de-stem them and crush them. …
  3. Fermentation. Crushing and pressing is followed by the fermentation process. …
  4. Clarification. …
  5. Aging and Bottling.

The wine making process
Wine making in 90 seconds

You can make wine at home too

The video below will take you through the equipment you need to ferment at home and create your very own vino.
Making wine at home