How is Red Wine Made?
See how red wine is made with an easy-to-understand infographic. How is red wine made? Harvest grapes, smash them up and watch as yeast transforms the grape’s sugar into alcohol!
The basic concept behind winemaking is very simple, but the process can vary greatly depending on who makes the wine and what techniques they prefer to use. Use the visual aid below as a baseline to how all red wines are made!
Part 1: Grow Grapes & Harvest Them
A grape vine begins to produce grapes after its third year. Regardless of the vine’s age, grapes only grow on stalks that are one year old. Because of this, viticulturists prune their vineyards back every year to encourage new growth. Wine grapes grow in the most unlikely places of the world.
Part 2: Crushing The Grapes
Wine grapes are usually destemmed to reduce harsh vegetal-tasting tannin. Sometimes wineries have long sorting table conveyer belts to further check for leaves or bad grapes. Then the grapes are crushed and put into an environment that is conducive for yeast to thrive. Red wines get their deep color from being fermented with the skins.
Part 3: Fermenting Sugar into Alcohol
The fermentation starts when a yeast culture grows and consumes the available sugar and turns it into alcohol. There are many different kinds of yeast strains that either happen naturally or are added (called innoculation) to control the flavor. Red wines are typically fermented at warmer temperatures than white wines. Also, red wines are usually fermented until all the sugar is consumed, creating a dry wine.
Part 4: Fining, Filtering and Bottling
Red wines age for anywhere from 4 months to 4 years before being bottled. During aging, ‘fining’ often occurs to make the wine clear. Wine additives are often used that glom onto dissolved proteins. After fining, filtration happens and the wine gets bottled. Some red wines are not fined or filtered to add more body. Unfiltered wines should be decanted before drinking.
About the Artist: Jelle De Roeck works as an architect at his own office and teaches Architecture and Design at the University of Leuven, Belgium. In 2011, he started to follow his evergrowing passion for wine and wanted to know all about it. Instead of taking complicated wine courses, he started blogging about his wine discoveries based on specific themes.