For wine lovers, it seems there is no limit to our curiosity surrounding this deliriously enchanting spirit. If you find yourself musing about how each splendid drop of your beloved red, white and rose has come to fruition, it is completely normal. It is simply an innate trait of true wine aficionados. Long before you uncork your favorite chilled Riesling to serve with a sliver of dark chocolate or your favorite cheese, keep in mind that skilled wine makers have followed a multiple-step process that requires as much of their patience and care as it takes their knowledge and labor.
The Wine Making Process: It All Begins With the Harvest
As complex as its yields, the wine making process has evolved for thousands of years. Laurel Gray Vineyards notes that “it is not only an art but a science;” further noting that the human touch in the wine making process should stay as light as possible. The best results stem from wine makers who gently guide this natural process through their own special techniques. Although the wondrous wine making process takes five fascinating steps, which include harvesting, crushing, pressing, fermentation and clarification, today we will start at the beginning, especially since wine makers in the northern hemisphere just finished this primary process.
Harvest Time As the Defining Moment in Wine Making
Without harvesting, there would be no fruit and, according to Alto Vineyards, grapes provide the ideal amount of sugar to yield the requisite alcohol to preserve the resulting beverage. With wine makers’ deep and abiding understanding of this critical feature of their crop, as well as recognizing all the other special ingredients enveloped in your favorite Merlot or Chardonnay, most devoted wine makers consider harvest time the defining moment in the wine making process, suggests Winehaven. Furthermore, Laurel Gray Vineyards points out that the very moment — even the time of day or night — that grapes are harvested often affects the sweetness, acidity and flavor of the wine, so it makes sense to approach this part of the process with tender care.
The Harvesting Process: By Hand or Machine?
While some wine makers rely on modern machinery to pick their grapes, others find that mechanical harvesters are too rough on the grapes and the vineyard, and they choose to carefully harvest the grapes by hand. When harvesting by hand, vineyard workers use shears to gently remove the grapes from their vines, thus keeping grapes healthy for the next steps in the wine making process and the vines healthy for the next crop.
From Harvest Time to Your Favorite Wine Glass
Each time you sip your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Gris, you might take a moment to reflect on the art, science and care that went into its creation to discover an even greater appreciation than you already feel for it.