The wine industry is a million dollar yearly industry. American’s love their wine! As a matter of fact, we drink more wine than any other country in the course of a year. If you’re a person that loves to understand how things work, you may have wondered just what the journey was like for the grapes that composed your tasty glass of wine. You might be surprised when you realize just how much work it takes to create such spirits. Well, wonder no more! Here is a quick overview of the life of a wine grape.
The preparation for the vineyard actually begins way before the grapes are ever in bloom. In the winter months, workers have to prune the vines in a specific way so that they will grow and bloom properly. Some vines have to be pruned earlier than others to make sure that all of the grapes are done growing around the same time.
After the budding and flowering stages of development in the vineyard, the crops go through a process called crop thinning. This stage weeds out all the unripened grapes that look as though they will not fully develop correctly. Only the best looking grapes make it through this process.
Veraison refers to the stage in which the grapes begin to obtain their rich colors. All grapes start out the journey being green, but during this stage the rich purples will begin to blossom. You will begin to be able to physically see the differences in the vines at this stage.
After about six months, it’s time for harvest. Most of the time, you will find that grapes are harvested by hand. They’re just too fragile to be tossed around by heavy machinery. It’s also good to harvest at night. Not only for the cooler temperatures, but harvesting in the evening provides a more suitable climate for the newly plucked grapes.
All the different kinds of grapes are to be crushed, but the grapes for the white wines are crushed and sent to ferment without their skins. There are specialized machines that separate the skins from the juices. This is where the process would change if you just wanted to make grape juice.
Here is the stage where the chemical makeup of the fruit changes. Yeast and sugar are added, and the fermentation process begins. This process produces the alcoholic quality of the wine. After the fermentation process, the wine is barrelled up and left to age for some time.
After a span of time that usually measures anywhere from eighteen to twenty four months, the wine is ready to be bottled. Once it’s bottled, the vineyard workers ship out the product in a special refrigerated truck. Temperature control is of the utmost importance when it comes to maintaining the taste and quality of the wine.