What Is Wine Made Of? (Question)

Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide, releasing heat in the process. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts are major factors in different styles of wine.


What is the main ingredient in wine?

By. At its most fundamental state, wine is comprised entirely of grapes. Leave a vat of grapes in a container over time, and eventually the naturally-occurring yeasts from the skin will turn the fruit’s sugary juices into alcohol. This is the basic premise of winemaking that dates back thousands of years.

What makes the alcohol in wine?

The process of fermentation transforms grape juice (called “must”) into wine. It begins when Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast found on the grape skins, feeds on the natural sugars in the grape juice. Alcohol is a byproduct of this reaction, along with heat and carbon dioxide.

What materials make up wine?

Raw Materials As mentioned above, the wine grape itself contains all the necessary ingredients for wine: pulp, juice, sugars, acids, tannins, and minerals. However, some manufacturers add yeast to increase strength and cane or beet sugar to increase alcoholic content.

Can wine get you drunk?

If you’re out with friends or drinking alone, the alcohol content means you don’t need to drink a lot of wine to get drunk. The standard is that, within an hour, men need three glasses of an average ABV wine to get drunk, while women only need two. After reaching this limit, you’ll likely be legally drunk.

Can kids drink wine?

There is no acceptable amount of alcohol that is considered safe for children. Children metabolize alcohol faster than adults. This means that even a small amount of alcohol can lead to higher blood-alcohol concentrations. This can lead to low blood sugar, coma, and problems regulating body temperature.

Is wine an alcohol?

alcoholic beverage, any fermented liquor, such as wine, beer, or distilled spirits, that contains ethyl alcohol, or ethanol (CH3CH2OH), as an intoxicating agent. Wine is made by fermenting the juices of grapes or other fruits such as apples (cider), cherries, berries, or plums.

Is wine stronger than beer?

2) Wine is nearly 50 percent stronger than beer.

Why is wine so strong?

There are two principal reasons why this is happening, one natural, one engineered by winemakers. Of the former, climate change and, in particular, global warming are heating up the vineyards, causing the grapes to build up more sugar, which, when crushed at the winery, ferments into alcohol.

Is there wine without alcohol?

How is non-alcoholic wine made? True non-alcoholic wine is made via the dealcoholization process, meaning that grapes are fermented, vinified, and created into a fully alcoholic product, then the alcohol is removed via a handful of potential ways (vacuum distillation and reverse osmosis being the most popular).

How is wine made?

The most natural process is to simply add yeast, letting it ferment over time. For red wines, carbon dioxide is released, and usually fermented in warmer temperatures compared to whites. Red wine process usually continues until all the sugar is converted into alcohol, producing a dry wine.

How do I make my own wine?

Making Wine

  1. Ensure your equipment is thoroughly sterilized and then rinsed clean.
  2. Select your grapes, tossing out rotten or peculiar-looking grapes.
  3. Wash your grapes thoroughly.
  4. Remove the stems.
  5. Crush the grapes to release the juice (called “must”) into the primary fermentation container.
  6. Add wine yeast.

How is wine formed?

Fermentation is probably the most critical step in wine production — it’s when alcohol is created. To trigger this chemical reaction, yeast is sometimes added into the tanks with the grapes. The added yeast converts the grape sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide, giving the wine its alcohol content.

Does wine make you fat?

Drinking too much wine can cause you to consume more calories than you burn, which can lead to weight gain. Additionally, heavy drinking can lead to weight gain in ways other than just contributing empty calories. When you consume alcohol, your body uses it before carbs or fat for energy.

Does wine make you sleepy?

Riper grapes have higher sugar levels, meaning there is more sugar for yeasts to convert into alcohol during the fermentation process. So, red wines make you more sleepy than whites because they have higher alcohol concentrations, a powerful, tranquilizing sedative, and melatonin, the world’s most famous sleep hormone.

Wine Chemistry 101: What is Wine Made of?

Vivino is one of our favorite apps since we enjoy drinking wine. But do we really understand what goes into making the wine we adore? Despite the fact that wine is considered food, there is no ingredient list on the label. A certain amount of grape juice is required, but that is not the entire story; wine is composed of hundreds or thousands of distinct molecules. Most are fragrance molecules derived from grapes themselves (primary smells), winemaking (secondary aromas), and wine aging (tertiary scents) (tertiary).

So, what exactly is the composition of wine?

85% Water

Aside from the pleasure of indulging in alcoholic beverages, there is another explanation for the historical habit of drinking wine: wine is primarily composed of water. In the past, wine was considered to be more safe than water because it was less susceptible to hazardous bacterial infection. This was especially true in hot climates where water was scarcer and hence more susceptible to contamination. It is possible that this is why the history of wine began in warm and dry regions surrounding Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean Sea, rather than in hot and humid places.

13(ish)% Alcohols

Although it is not a mystery that wine includes alcohol, it is formed when yeasts devour the sugar found in grape juice, converting it to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The amount of alcohol in a glass of wine (also known as alcohol by volume or ABV) varies from bottle to bottle. Wines at the lower end of the spectrum contain around 7 percent alcohol. These are often sweet wines whose fermentation was halted prematurely, leaving unfermented sugar behind. Examples include sparkling wines such as Moscato and still wines such as some German Rieslings.

Wines with high alcohol content (14 percent to 15 percent) are typically produced in warm climates where grapes attain a high level of ripeness and high sugar concentrations before being pressed.

1% Glycerol

We all know that wine includes alcohol; it is formed when yeasts devour the sugar in grape juice, converting it to ethanol and carbon dioxide in the process. It varies from one wine to another in terms of alcohol content (also known as alcohol by volume, or ABV). Approximately 7 percent of alcohol is found in wines at the lower end of the scale. Sparkling wines such as Moscato and still wines such as certain German Rieslings are examples of wines whose fermentation was stopped prematurely, leaving unfermented sugar.

Warm climates produce high alcohol wines (14 percent to 15 percent abv), which are characterized by a high level of ripeness in the grapes as well as high sugar concentrations. A wine with an alcoholic content of 17 percent to 20% or more is classified as fortified wine.

0.5% Acids

Generally speaking, the acidity of wine is measured in pH, which ranges between 3 and 4; it is frequently more acidic than orange juice, but less acidic than most sodas. Tartaric acid is the primary acid found in wine and is found in large quantities. Most bacteria are unable to metabolize tartaric acid since it is produced by just a few plants: the grapevine is one of such plants. This is why wine has such a high level of resistance to deterioration. Unlike the acids found in many fruits, the quantity of tartaric acid does not drop significantly as grapes develop, explaining why all wines, even those made from the ripest fruit, are rather acidic.

In part, this explains why wines made from riper grapes are less acidic than wines made from ‘greener’ berries.

Malic acid is a sour acid that is not particularly stable, which is why some winemakers prefer to allow it to be transformed into a gentler acid called lactic acid before bottling.

You may learn more about this critical wine component by reading Why is Acid so Important in Wine.

Carbohydrates (sugars)

Obviously, the amount of sugar included in a wine can vary significantly depending on how’sweet’ the wine is made. Very dry wines have almost no sugar at all, whilst other sweet wines might contain more than 200 grams of sugar per liter. However, the majority of wines, including dry ones, contain between 0 and 10 grams of carbohydrates per liter (g/L) of liquid. The natural fruit sugars fructose and glucose, which are normally present in similar amounts in wine, account for the majority of the sugars present.

These substances, as the name implies, are incapable of being fermented by yeasts or bacteria.

0.1% Phenolics

Despite the fact that they constitute a tiny fraction of the total, phenolics contribute significantly to what distinguishes wine from other beverages. Flavonoids and anthocyanins, two types of phenolic compounds, are responsible for the unique hues of white and red wines. Phenolics are the tannins that give wine its drying astringency and some bitterness, and they are also found in grapes. Tannins are found in considerably larger concentration in red wines, while they can be found in minor amounts in white wines as well.

That’s all there is to it!

a little about the authorJulien is the founder ofSocial Vignerons, which was awarded the Wine Blog Awards’ Best New Wine Blog Award for 2015. Follow him on Vivino and Twitter for the latest updates.

How Wine Is Made: Everything You Need to Know About Winemaking

Although a few things have changed since the days of pressing grapes with bare feet, you may be surprised to hear that many ancient winemaking practices have remained unchanged. You will learn about the five fundamental phases involved in the production of wine, including how the grapes are picked, the differences in the production of red wine and white wine, and why understanding the process can help you appreciate wine even more.

Harvesting the Grapes

The days of pressing grapes with bare feet are long gone, but you might be surprised to hear that many classic winemaking techniques have remained almost unchanged. You will learn about the five fundamental phases involved in the production of wine, including how the grapes are picked, the differences between creating red wine and white wine, and why knowing the process can help you appreciate wine even more as a result of your knowledge.

Crushing the Grapes

After the grapes have been selected and collected, they are sent through a destemmer, which is a machine that removes the stems. This apparatus (as you might have guessed) is used to destem grapes. The next section is where the differences between red, white, and rosé wines are most noticeable. In contrast to red wine and rosé wines, white winegrapes are totally crushed in a press before being pressed into wine. The skins and seeds of the grape are removed during this technique, leaving just the grape juice behind.

Red and rosé wines, on the other hand, are just lightly pressed before they are allowed to ferment.

As a result, they are fermented with their skins still on.

The Fermentation Process

Fermentation is the most important phase in the manufacture of wine since it is during this process that alcohol is produced. When yeast is put to the tanks with the grapes, it might cause a chemical reaction that is beneficial to the wine. The addition of yeast causes the grape sugars to be converted into ethanol and carbon dioxide, which results in the wine having an alcohol level. In addition to artificial colors, sweeteners, and preservatives such as sulfites, many bulk wine manufacturers may mix in other ingredients at this time, including ethanol.

  1. However, this can include potentially hazardous levels of sulfate and yeast generated in a factory.
  2. Wines prepared the Old-World manner, in small batches from responsibly cultivated grapes, without the use of any additions, will be found in place of those laced with secret ingredients and potentially hazardous compounds.
  3. While red wine grapes are in touch with their skins for 5-14 days, rosé grapes only ferment with their skins on for a few hours, resulting in a considerably lighter color and a much shorter fermentation time.
  4. While the wine is fermenting, winemakers use the open-topped jars to pound down the grape skins, allowing for more flavor to be extracted from the grape.

White wine is a little more straightforward than red and rosé wines. Once the white wine has been racked, the clear grape juice is fermented at a lower temperature, between 45 and 60 degrees. It will take many weeks to complete the full fermentation process from start to finish.

The Maturation Process

The wine-aging process may impart a variety of diverse aromas and textures to the finished product. While some lower-quality red wines are aged in stainless steel tanks, which are significantly less expensive, most red wines are aged in oak barrels. As a result of the porous nature of oak barrels, they enable minute quantities of oxygen to dissolve in the wine. This smooths out the rough textures of the tannins and imparts a mellow, oaky taste to the finished product. When it comes to winemaking, there are a plethora of different barrels to choose from, each with its unique set of characteristics:

  • French oak and American oak are the two most often used types of barrels in the world. Depending on where the wood comes from, each produces a distinct set of wine characteristics. French wood may provide a mild spice to the wine, whilst American oak can impart undertones of vanilla to the wine.
  • The use of fresh oak barrels can provide tastes that are distinct from those produced by recycling old oak barrels. This is due to the fact that each time oak is employed, the flavor extraction decreases.
  • Some winemakers prefer to forego the use of barrels completely and instead use oak chips to age their wines. These wood scraps are far less expensive than purchasing oak barrels.
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While the majority of white wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks, there are a few varieties, such as Chardonnay, that are fermented in oak barrels, similar to the way red wines are done in France. The length of time a wine must be aged is determined by the type of wine being produced. While some wines are meant to be aged for years on end, others are meant to be aged for a very short period of time—many will be available for purchase only a few months after the grapes were picked.

Fining, Bottling, and Corking

Once the wine has reached its full maturity, it is ready to be clarified, also known as “fined.” This procedure entails eliminating any undesired particles from the wine that may have caused it to seem foggy or off-color in the first place. In order to do this, winemakers use a chemical that binds to the undesired particles, making them bigger and hence large enough to pass through the filter. Fining agents are a type of chemical that is used in the manufacturing of wine. There are a few vegan choices available, such as bentonite (clay), however the most majority are derived from animal sources.

  1. (Yes, I’m talking about fish guts.) In the past, even bull’s blood was used as a flavoring agent.
  2. Even though most wines are fined, the surge in popularity of biodynamic, organic, and natural wines has led to some winemakers opting out of the practice.
  3. The wine is bottled after it has gone through the fining process.
  4. Despite the fact that this process is typically mechanized, some smaller wine makers choose to perform it by hand.
  5. While corks have traditionally been the preferred form of sealing, screw caps are becoming increasingly popular.

Appreciating How Wine Is Made

As you can see, the process of creating wine is not simple. Wine production is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that has the potential to go horribly wrong. Harvesting and preparing the grapes requires a huge number of pickers as well as heavy, costly apparatus. A delicate science follows this, as wine makers toil diligently to crush, ferment, and develop the humble grape into one of the world’s most popular drinks, which is known as vinification. Traditional, centuries-old procedures are used by wine makers to manufacture alcohol, which is made possible by the fermentation of yeast and sugar.

Keep in mind that not every wine is made equal.

For example, many vintners may use chemicals and artificial sweeteners to boost the alcohol content of their wines and speed up the fermentation process.

Wine that is complex, excellent, and that allows the natural grape tastes to take center stage should be sought out from smaller independent winemakers or vineyards. If you enjoy merlot, raise your glass the next time you taste it and salute the winemakers of the globe.

What ingredients are really in your glass of wine?

Wine is made solely of grapes when it is at its most basic level of production. If you leave a vat of grapes in a container for an extended period of time, the naturally occurring yeasts from the skin will ultimately convert the sugary juices of the fruit to alcohol. This is the fundamental principle of winemaking, which has been around for thousands of years. Nowadays, however, few winemakers rely on such a straightforward procedure – despite the fact that the market for ‘natural’ wines is rising.

Here’s what else is spinning about in your glass, as well as why it’s doing so:

Calcium carbonate

If the grapes are not ripening properly, calcium carbonate can be used to lower acidity in the final wine. It can also be used to help the wine age better. It is normally applied prior to or at the beginning of fermentation, so that it has no effect on the aroma of the wine produced.


For centuries, winemakers have relied on oak barrels to impart flavors to their wines, such as vanilla and subtle spices. However, because only a portion of the wine comes into contact with the wood, some producers will add oak chips, powders, or staves to a barrel to help distribute the flavors more evenly throughout the finished product.

Grape juice concentrate

Grape juice concentrate, which may be seen more commonly in retail wines, is occasionally used to enhance the color of red wine while also adding a little amount of sugar to smooth out the palate. It is often made with grapes called Teinturer.

Non-vegan material

Non-vegan material can be used as a fining agent and clarifier by artisan winemakers who are averse to the use of enzymes in their wines. Among these are egg whites, bentonite clay, and mammalian proteins – all of which are filtered away before the wine is bottled and sold.

Powdered tannins

Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in the skins of grapes, and they are beneficial in increasing the complexity of a wine. However, the crushing, maturation, and climatic change that occur during the winemaking process can make them difficult to handle, thus powdered tannins may be added early in the process to aid in the addition of balance.

Potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite

In order to preserve the yeast from germs and prevent it from rotting, these two components are frequently employed combined throughout the fermentation process since they assist the yeast ferment effectively while also increasing overall flavor.

Sulfur dioxide

This is one of the most often used wine additions, and it is commonly referred to as’sulfites’. During the winemaking process, it is used to preserve the grapes and prevent oxidation from occurring. It’s also one of the few additives that must be included on the label of a wine bottle, but only if the amount of sulphur dioxide in the wine reaches 10mg per litre.


Although you would imagine that sugar is added to a wine to help sweeten it, sugar is really used to assist increase the amount of alcohol in the wine.

Chapteralization is the term used to describe the act of assisting the yeast throughout the fermentation process.


Rather than being added by cunning winemakers wanting to stretch their wine longer, water is actually added at the beginning of the winemaking process to assist reduce excessive alcohol levels and bring the wine into harmony with the other ingredients.


Yeast is an essential component in winemaking because it aids in the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohol. A second fermentation known as malolactic fermentation, in which naturally occurring bitter malic acids are transformed into softer lactic acids, is used by certain producers to improve specific flavor profiles. Some producers also utilize cultivated yeasts to enhance specific flavor profiles.

What exactly is “natural” wine?

After moving to Paris in the 1990s to study French literature and movies, Jenny Lefcourt and her friends discovered a new variety of wine that they enjoyed drinking a lot more than the others. She recalls that this wine tasted “completely different, and alive, and exquisite,” as she put it. Later, they stumbled onto a taste of the wine offered at one of the neighboring restaurants, which was a pleasant surprise. “It didn’t have a name at the time,” she says, but it was the product that we’ll now refer to as natural wine, and she began importing it in 2000, when she was just starting out.

  1. The industry has evolved into a source of independent social capital, with wine labels that are as closely studied and obsessively collected as music covers were in the ’80s.
  2. Moreover, it has been the topic of passionate dispute in the wine industry, with natural wine purists advocating for its virtues and exhilarating flavor, while traditionalists criticize the perceived defects and even the idealism of natural wine.
  3. However, the history of sulfites makes this difficult to determine; some individuals believe that sulfites, in one form or another, were employed to preserve wine as far back as the seventh century BC.
  4. “People assume that natural wine is a new thing, but it’s the traditional method to create wine,” she says.
  5. Discover what natural wine is, how we became disenchanted with it — and then reconciled with it — and where it’s headed next.

What it is

Nature-based wines are more of a notion than they are a clearly defined category with widely accepted features. A wine created only from unadulterated fermented grape juice and nothing else is what it is in its purest form. Many individuals — winemakers, distributors, journalists, and sommeliers — are uncomfortable with the phrase “natural wine,” which refers to wine produced without the use of chemicals. Some people prefer the terms “low-intervention” wine, “naked” wine, or “raw” wine instead of “low-intervention.” “It’s just fucking fermented juice,” Scruggs describes her product as.

  • The following essay is written with the assumption that natural wine is not a fake and that its advocates are not crazy, but rather that it is a hotly discussed and endlessly difficult issue that never fails to elicit passionate responses from a wide range of people.
  • Grasp natural wine necessitates a fundamental understanding of the winemaking process, which is often difficult.
  • Natural wine, on the other hand, is produced from grapes that have not been treated with pesticides or herbicides.
  • When it comes to turning those handpicked grapes into juice, natural winemakers rely on native yeast, which is the stuff that’s whizzing around in the air and will land on grapes if you leave them in a vat for a long enough period of time, to kickstart natural fermentation.
  • And, in contrast to the majority of traditional winemakers, they do not utilize any chemicals (such as false oak taste, sugar, acid, egg white, or other additions) throughout the winemaking procedure.
  • Some natural winemakers may use a small amount of sulfites on occasion.
  • Natural winemakers either do not use sulfites at all or use them in very small amounts, whereas conventional winemakers use up to ten times as much as natural winemakers.

The purest of the pure — organically fermented grape juice that contains no sulfites — is referred to as “zero-zero,” which refers to the absence of any additional ingredients.

It is typically regarded permissible in natural wine circles to add small amounts of sulfites at the bottling stage (between 10 and 35 parts per million), which are generally thought to be between 10 and 35 parts per million.

In the United States, the maximum allowed concentration is 350 parts per million.

However, this is not always the case.

In Scruggs’ opinion, “there’s a common misperception that natural wine is one thing – that it has a “funky” or “unclean” taste.” In my opinion, this is an injustice.

According to Pascaline Lepeltier, a long-time natural wine advocate, “Whatever you prefer as a more conventional wine consumer, you can find an alternative wherever in the globe.” Lastly, there’s glou-glou, a popular form of natural wine that’s meant to be consumed without having to worry about what you’re drinking.

What it isn’t

Winemaking that is considered “conventional” — often known as “non-natural” winemaking — is defined by the use of technology. When it comes to the vineyard, pesticides and herbicides are used to get the desired results. Laboratory-grown yeast (to control fermentation and taste), acid (to boost the wine’s acidity, which in turn might help the wine age more gracefully), and sulfites (added at the time of bottling) are the most common forms of intervention in the cellar (to preserve flavor). Many winemakers also use sugar, which does not make the wine sweeter, but rather gives the impression of having “body” since it turns into alcohol when exposed to heat.

According to Lefcourt, owner of JennyFrancois Selections, “a lot of wine is a grape product, plus all of these millions of additives to make a product that is reliably the same every year.” “It’s similar to Coca-Cola.” Clarifying wine with egg white and isinglass, which is manufactured from fish bladders, is a common practice that results in many bottles being non-vegan despite the fact that they are not labeled as such.

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Marcel Lapierre is a French winemaker who specializes in “natural” Beaujolais wines.

Technological advancements are the most significant element in this transformation: Pesticides began widely used following World War II, when troops sprayed their sleeping bags with DDT to prevent the spread of sickness; commercial yeast first appeared on the market in the mid-’60s, and now it is used in a variety of applications.

  • We owe a debt of gratitude to American wine critic Robert Parker, who in the 1980s devised a 100-point wine rating system.
  • As Parker’s reputation grew, his ratings began to have a substantial impact on wine sales.
  • The homogeneity of what people considered to be good wine began to take place when this began to happen, according to Lefcourt.
  • This goes to the heart of a long-running discussion between natural wine devotees and others who believe they have gone off the rails: Is the “best” wine produced with the least amount of intervention?

Or is it produced by seasoned, well-informed winemakers who are striving to create a specific outcome that is representative of their region and traditions? This discussion is unlikely to come to a halt anytime soon.

Where it came from, and where it’s going

The majority of people believe that the present natural wine movement got its start in rural France, when a small group of low-intervention winemakers who had been toiling (and tilling) in their own organic bubbles became acquainted with one another and began to form a social network. “These were natural winemakers who were isolated in their appellations, perhaps the only ones there working organically in the vines with little to no additives in the cellar,” Lefcourt recalls. “These were natural winemakers who were isolated in their appellations, perhaps the only ones there working organically in the vines with little to no additives in the cellar.” Lefcourt recalls that La Dive Bouteille, which began in 1999 with 15 wineries and around 100 guests, was one of the first planned and official natural wine tastings in the world.

A vineyard with a long history.

The collaboration between Karl-Josef Hildenbrand and the film industry courtesy of Getty Images Importers of natural wines such as Lefcourt and Louis/Dressner expanded and gained popularity in the United States during the 1990s and 2000s.

“There was a lot of talking to deaf ears,” recalls Lefcourt, “trying to communicate and create understanding in those early days.” Alice Feiring, one of the media’s early proponents of the natural wine movement, wrote her first report for the Times in 2001, exposing the mad scientist-like machinations of conventional wine; in 2005, she covered the natural wine bar trend in Paris, among other things.

  1. Now, fourteen years later, the pattern is well established throughout America, and not just in New York and Los Angeles.
  2. A different type of trend began to emerge as a result of this.
  3. This year, Fabian von Hauske and Jeremiah Stone, the chefs behind three of Manhattan’s most innovative restaurants, are planning to create their own wine shop in which they will emphasize natural products.
  4. and the Sex Pistols, while GQ Style dubbed it “the next frontier for hypebeast culture.” Eric Wareheim, the comedian, is currently producing natural wine, which is actually quite delicious.
  5. The story’s suggestions were complimented by Bon Appétit, Eater, andNatural Whine, an inside-baseball natural wine Instagram account run by industry vet Adam Vourvolis that sells in-joke T-shirts as well.
  6. (One reviewer said that “Four Loko is preferable.”) In a day when the threat of climate change is becoming more grave by the day, natural winemaking is gaining popularity as a means of protecting the environment.
  7. The natural winemaking method of focusing on local grape varietals — rather than cultivating varietals to adapt to market trends — can make those plants more immune to the impacts of climate change, according to Scruggs.
  8. A holistic, chemical-free farming approach that considers the farm’s ecology as well as moon cycles, biodynamic farming is becoming increasingly popular.
  9. The fact that many winemakers who pay for organic certification would subsequently utilize additives — such as large doses of sulfur, yeast, acid, and so on — while creating their wine further complicates the situation.

At this point, we get to one of the most significant barriers standing in the way of consumers enjoying the experience of drinking natural, minimally-intervention, organically grown wine: it might be difficult to recognize at first glance.

One last thing: What about hangovers?

Natural wine is frequently touted as having less side effects, such as hangovers. A lot of individuals (including Goop) believe that the sulfites in normal wine might increase the effects of alcohol the following morning. A lot of individuals believe it to be complete nonsense. “I don’t believe drinking water causes hangovers,” Scruggs adds. “I don’t believe it has anything to do with sulfur because it is already a naturally occurring byproduct.” It is true that there are manufacturers who are pushing an excessive quantity of it — but most of the time, this is bulk wine, and the additives aren’t required to be mentioned.” So drink responsibly, and don’t make a fool of yourself.

We’ll deliver you the most interesting Goods articles twice a week, investigating what we purchase, why we buy it, and why it matters to us.

Wine Making Process: How to Make Wine

It has been thousands of years since people have begun creating wine. When reduced to its most basic form, wine production is a natural process that requires very little involvement on the part of humans. There are five basic stages or steps in the production of wine: harvesting, crushing and pressing, fermentation, clarification, and finally aging and bottling. Mother Nature provides everything that is needed to make wine; it is up to humans to embellish, improve, or completely obliterate what she has provided.

  • Without a doubt, there are many variances and modifications to be discovered along the route.
  • They also contribute to the individuality of each wine and, ultimately, the magnificence or ignominy of a specific wine’s reputation.
  • The production of rosé wines, as well as fortified or sparkling wines, is a different story; both require significant human interaction in order to be successful.

How Red Wine Is Made

Wineries now produce red wine in roughly the same way as they did 6,000 years ago in Greece and Persia, according to historians. During the winemaking process, dark-colored grapes are collected and crushed before being fermented, stirred, and separated from their skins by a press. Voila! Red wine, to be precise. Better containers, presses, and cellars have significantly improved the quality and efficiency of red wine production, but the process is still substantially the same as it was decades ago.

Red wine is made on the skins

Red wine is manufactured in the same way as white wine, with one significant distinction. In most cases, the skins and juice of the grapes are blended in a tank or vat throughout the fermentation process. In order to separate the juice from the skins of white wines, they are pressed before to fermentation. Color, taste, and textural elements are incorporated into the juice during the red wine manufacturing process, whereas the yeast converts sugar to alcohol during the process of making white wine.

The skins hold the majority of the beneficial material that gives red wine its color, but the pulp is responsible for the majority of its liquid. Eric DeFreitas created this infographic.

Harvesting red-wine grapes and the crush

When red wine grapes are ready to be harvested, it is usually in the late summer to early fall, many weeks after the original green hue of the grapes has changed to dark crimson or blue-black, a process known as veraison. Vineyard employees remove the grape bunches or clusters off the vines with a harvesting knife. A self-propelled machine shakes or slaps the grapes off their stems, collecting the individual berries and juice, or a hand-operated machine does it for you. When the grapes are delivered to the vineyard, winemakers might pick through them to remove mildewed grapes, undesired raisins, leaves, and other detritus.

  1. Free run is the term used to describe any juice produced during these phases prior to pressing.
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  3. Thank you very much!
  4. Policy Regarding Personal Information Sulfur dioxide is frequently used at this stage, as well as later on, to kill undesired bacteria and to reduce oxidation, which is a common practice.

Red wine fermentation and pressing

Must is the term used to describe the mixture of juice, skins, and seeds. A procedure known as cold soaking is used by some winemakers to chill the must for a day or two before fermenting it in order to remove color and taste ingredients from the skins before any alcohol is produced. Afterwards, some winemakers initiate the fermentation process by adding commercial yeast, while others let the native yeast that clings to the grapes or resides in the cellar’s environment to do so. It doesn’t matter which method you use, yeast cells spring to life in the sweet solution and start converting the sugar into alcohol, heat, and carbon dioxide.

  1. This cap must be mixed back into the juice at least once per day, if not more frequently, during the fermentation phase in order to maintain it wet during the fermentation process.
  2. It also helps to regulate heat, which may reach temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit if not properly monitored.
  3. You may either pump liquid over the cap or punch it down.
  4. Transferring the must into wine presses allows winemakers to separate the skins and seeds from the wine, as well as compress the skins to extract what is known as pressed wine from the wine.

The degree to which the must is pressed is a critical factor in the winemaking process. If you work it too hard, it will bring out bitter tannins. If it is too soft, the wine’s color and texture may be lighter and less complex. Getty

Red wines typically mature in oak barrels

Almost all red wines must be aged for a period of time before they can be bottled and sold. In large tanks, the process might take anything from a few months to many years, although oak barrels and vats are favoured for producing high-quality, traditional-style red wines. Malolactic fermentation happens most often during the wine’s aging phase, and it is responsible for converting the wine’s sour malic acid into softer lactic acid. It can occur spontaneously, but the winemaker can actively stimulate it by introducing a malolactic culture to the fermenting wine.

  1. New barrels provide more powerful spicy smells and increased flavors, whereas neutral vessels, such as barrels that have been used previously or containers made of concrete or clay, are regarded mostly for their ability to smooth out the texture of a wine’s mouthfeel and mouthfeel.
  2. American white oak barrels, on the other hand, are preferred for many wines because of their rich vanilla and coconut notes.
  3. As red wine matures, sediments such as yeast cells that have died and small particles of grape skins settle to the bottom of the bottle.
  4. Storage is the technique of removing sediment from wine after it has been clarified by pumping or siphoning it off the sediment.
  5. It makes use of the binding characteristics of egg whites, isinglass, and bentonite clay to make red wines taste less tannic and appear less hazy.
  6. When it comes to making red wine, blending is a vital stage.
  7. Getty

Filtration and bottling

When a red wine has reached the point of maturity where it can be bottled, many winemakers prefer to filter it first. Extra sediment is removed through coarse filtration. A sterile filtration removes virtually all of the remaining yeast as well as microbes that could potentially spoil the wine later on in the process. Often, the final adjustment of sulfur dioxide is made just before a wine is packaged for sale. This is the process that has changed the most since the beginning of time, when gourds, goatskins, and clay jars were the most advanced packaging materials available to mankind.

Today’s winemakers have a plethora of options, techniques, and technologies at their disposal compared to their forefathers. However, the goal remains the same: to take sweet grapes and allow yeast to transform them into a tasty red wine that everyone can enjoy.

10 Ingredients You Probably Didn’t Know Were in Your Wine

You’ve probably heard the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” before. When it comes to wine, the same idea applies, with a slight twist – don’t judge a bottle by its label — but with a slight twist. With all due respect to the visually appealing design and smart packaging, wine labels may be deceptive. In contrast to the food business, wine manufacturers are not required by any regulating organization or government to declare the exact components that go into making the wine on the exterior of the bottle, even though they include vital information such as grape varietals, location, and alcohol concentration.

  1. In essence, sure, but hold on to your barstool, my sadly betrayed buddy.
  2. Vino is made only from grapes, which contain all of the ingredients necessary to make it.
  3. In the end, you have a delightful libation that has been sipped and swirled by oenophiles and armchair fans alike for hundreds of years.
  4. To begin, vintners have devised novel methods of manipulating the terroir and have elevated the practice to the level of both an art and a science in order to regulate the way each small fruit grows on the vines.
  5. Besides the obvious elements like as grapes, patience, and passion, these are the top five ingredients you might not have realized were whirling about in your wine glass.

1. Potassium SorbatePotassium Metabisulfite

Potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite are both used as a preservative in the winemaking process to keep germs at bay and yeast from ruining the wine. In the winemaking process, these ingredients are especially beneficial when used together because they provide the yeast with a better opportunity to ferment efficiently, help prevent bacteria from spoiling your wine, and improve the overall flavor of your wine while inhibiting enzymatic browning in white wines.

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2. Calcium Carbonate

Calcium carbonate is a frequent ingredient in the winemaking process since it helps to lower the acidity of the finished wine. Typically, a winemaker would add this ingredient before or at the start of fermentation because it is less likely to have an impact on the bouquet of your wine. When grapes are having difficulty ripening as a result of the climate in which they were produced, it is not uncommon for calcium carbonate to be added to the mixture.

3. Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is commonly referred to as “Sulfites” in the wine industry since it is one of the most commonly used wine additives. The antioxidant and antibacterial properties of sulfur dioxide make it a prominent ingredient in winemaking, where it is used to preserve grapes, stabilize wine, and prevent oxidation throughout the fermentation process.

Besides that, it is frequently used to aid in the sanitization of barrels and other winemaking equipment.


This one may seem obvious considering that grapes naturally contain sugar, but winemakers frequently add even more sugar to the mix in order to increase the amount of alcohol present in their product’s overall alcohol content. It is known as chaptalization, and it is the practice of adding sugar to wine that is primarily used to aid the yeast in the fermentation process. Sugar is only used by a small number of winemakers to sweeten their wines. Adding sugar to wine is commonly done in colder areas where grapes aren’t able to fully mature before harvesting is completed.

5. Grape Juice Concentrate

Mega Purple and Ultra Red are common street names for thick concentrates made from Teinturer grapes, although those menacing-sounding titles are actually simply different varieties of the same thick concentrate. These wine enhancers make the color of red wine more vibrant while also providing a small amount of additional sugar to smooth out the mouth feel and make the wine taste a little more velvety in texture.

6. Water

According to the evidence, it is true that certain wines have been “watered down,” but this may not be for the reasons you might expect. Adding water to a wine is never done as a ruse to fill a bottle; rather, it is done early in the winemaking process to bring down excessive alcohol levels and even out the balance of a wine.

7. Flavors

In winemaking, wood has been employed almost since the beginning of time to impart powerful vanilla aromas (such as those found in American oak barrels) or to offset undertones of delicate spices (like those found in French oak barrels). The addition of oak chips, powders, or staves to a wine to evenly distribute those subtle flavors (such as leather, roasted marshmallows, cinnamon, cloves, and so on) before being strained out after fermentation has become popular among winemakers due to the limited amount of wine that comes into direct contact with the barrel.

8. Powdered Tannins

Tannins are compounds present in the skins of grapes that can enhance the complexity of a wine. Between the crushing, macerations, maturation, climatic fluctuations, and other events that take place during the winemaking process, it may be difficult to keep track of the catch. In the past, powdered tannins (also known as oenological tannins) have been used to assist impart bitterness to wines or balance them out during the early stages of the vinification process in order to help improve grapes, particularly those cultivated in warmer climates across the world.

9. Yeast

Yeast is the primary element in the production of wine, and it is what distinguishes a glass of wine from a drink of juice. When the grapes are denied access to oxygen early in the process, it is the yeast that is responsible for the conversion of sugars into alcohol.

10. Non-Vegan Materials

Despite the fact that these fining agents and clarifiers are not employed in all wines, they are most commonly found in organic wine sectors and by artisan winemakers who are averse to the use of enzymes. Fish bladders, egg whites, bentonite clay, mammalian proteins, and plastics are just a few of the materials that may be used. Fortunately, all of these impurities are removed before the bottling process begins.

Though it may seem difficult at first — and maybe a little “spins” provoking in and of itself — getting your mind around the label that’s wrapped around the bottle can go a long way toward helping you understand which components and tastes you appreciate the most in your wine. Cheers!

How wine is made: an illustrated guide

It all starts with grapes on the vine: and it’s important that these are properly ripe. Not ripe enough, or too ripe, and the wine will suffer. The grapes as they are harvested contain the potential of the wine: you can make a bad wine from good grapes, but not a good wine from bad grapes.Teams of pickers head into the vineyard. This is the exciting time of year, and all winegrowers hope for good weather conditions during harvest. Bad weather can ruin things completely.Hand-picked grapes being loaded into a half-ton bin.Increasingly, grapes are being machine harvested. This is more cost-effective, and in warm regions quality can be preserved by picking at night, when it is cooler. This is much easier to do by machine.The harvester plucks the grape berries off the vine and then dumps them into bins to go to the winery. This is in Bordeaux.These are machine-picked grapes being sorted for quality.Hand-picked grapes arriving as whole bunches in the winery.Sorting hand-picked grapes for quality. Any rotten or raisined grapes, along with leaves and petioles, are removed.These sorted grapes go to a machine that removes the stems. They may also be crushed, either just a little, or completely.These are the stems that the grapes have been separated from in the destemmer.Reception area at a small winery. Here grapes are being loaded and then taken by conveyor belt to a tank, from where they are being pumped into the fermentation vessel.This is where red wine making differs from whites. Red wines are fermented on their skins, while white wines are pressed, separating juice from skins, before fermentation. This fermentation vessel – a shallow stone lagar in Portugal’s Douro region – will be filled up and then the grapes will be foot trodden, so that the juice can extract colour and other components from the skins.This is a very traditional winery, again, in the Douro. The red grapes have been foottrodden, and fermentation has begun naturally. These men are mixing up the skins and juice by hand: this process is carried out many times a day to help with extraction, and also to stop bacteria from growing on the cap of grape skins that naturally would float to the surface.Sometimes cultured yeasts are added in dried form, to give the winemaker more control over the fermentation process. But many fermentations are still carried out with wild yeasts, naturally present in the vineyard or winery.These red grapes are being fermented in a stainless steel tank. During fermentation, carbon dioxide is released so it is OK to leave the surface exposed. Sometimes, however, fermentation takes place in closed tanks with a vent to let the carbon dioxide escape.In this small tank the cap of skins is being punched down using a robotic cap plunger. In some wineries this is done by hand, using poles.An alternative to punch downs is to pump wine from the bottom of the tank back over the skins.Here, fermenting red wine is being pumped out of the tank, and then pumped back in again. The idea is to introduce oxygen in the wine to help the yeasts in their growth. At other stages in winemaking care is taken to protect wine from oxygen, but at this stage it’s needed.Once fermentation has finished, most red wines are then moved to barrels to complete their maturation. Barrels come in all shapes and sizes. Above is the most common size: 225-250 litres. The source of the oak, and whether or not the barrel has been used previously, is important in the effect it has on the developing wine.This is a much larger, older barrel, imparting virtually no oak character to the wine. This suits some wine styles better than smaller barrels.This is a basket press: once fermentation has completed and the young wine has been drained off the skins, the remaining skins and stems are pressed to extract the last of the wine that they contain.This is a bladder press, used for some reds and almost all whites. A large bladder fills with air, pressing the contents gently and evenly, with gradually increasing pressure.And this is what is left at the end – the marc. It can be used to make compost.The inside of a tank that has been used to ferment white wine: the residue consists of dead yeasts cells.Barrel halls can still look quite traditional. Cool underground cellars are perfect for maturing wines – a process that takes anything from six months to three years.Winemakers typically check the maturing red wine barrels at regular intervals, and top them up as some of the wine evaporates during the maturation process.Occasionally it is necessary to move wine from one barrel to another, or from barrel to stainless steel tank. This cellar hand is using nitrogen gas to move the wine without exposing it to large amounts of oxygen.Here wine is being moved from one barrel to another deliberately exposing it to oxygen to aid in the maturation process.Some wines see no oak at all, but are kept in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fresh fruity characteristics.Finally, the wine is ready and is prepared for bottling. Often, filtration is used to make the wine bright and clear, and to remove any risk of microbial spoilage. The glass on the left has been filtered; on the right you can see what it was like just before the process. See also: How cork is made: an illustrated guide Published 08/11 Back to top

What is wine made of?

Wine is a commodity that may be produced in a variety of ways, the majority of which are dependent on the type of grapes used, the weather conditions, and the place in which they were grown. The world’s wine production currently includes over ten thousand different varieties, ranging from red and white to solid or sparkling to dessert and fortified wines. Many species of fruits may be turned into alcoholic beverages, but only grapes provide the right combination of pulp, juice, sugars, acids, tannins, and minerals that are necessary for the fermentation process to occur successfully.

The following are the minimal minimum elements that are utilized in contemporary winemaking:

  • Grapes- The grape, as the wine’s foundation, contains all of the key components necessary for fermentation. It all starts with wild yeast, which will kickstart the process, and ends with sugars, which will be turned into alcohol and CO2. In order for wine to be produced, it is necessary for these live creatures (fungi micro-organisms found in the tissue of grapes or introduced by winemakers) to be present in the process. They are critical in the fermentation process, turning carbohydrates into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeast must proliferate in an environment between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order to get the best results. Yeast Nutrients: These nutrients supply additional vitamins and elements that are required for the more successful process of yeast multiplication to take place. It is introduced at the start of the fermentation process.
  • Addition of sugar is required in order for yeast to create a greater amount of alcohol in the final product. Drinking water- Drinking water can be introduced directly to the fermenting wine in order to adjust the quantity of sugar present. sodium metabisulfite (also known as sodium metabisulfite) is one of the most often used wine additives today. It is used to disinfect and sterilize all winemaking equipment (containers, buckets, siphons, bottles, corks, and so on), and it is also put to the fermenting wine to protect it from dangerous germs throughout the fermentation process. It is also possible to use Potassium Metabisulfite or Campden Tablets as an alternative to Sodium Metabisulfite. Tannin is a naturally occurring substance found in grapes that may be chemically added to products to enhance the level of dryness in the finished product (tannin changes the lubricating action of saliva in our mouths). Pectin Enzyme- This ingredient aids in the breakdown of any pectin contained in wine, resulting in a cleaner finished product. Finings are used to aid in the clarity of the wine after it has been bottled. These positively charged particles attract and gather tiny negatively charged particles, clarifying the fluid and resulting in a product that is more clearly defined. A few of the typical finings that are used nowadays include enonite, kieselsol, isinglass, liquid gelatin, and drygelatin (raw egg whites, which were formerly used, may contain hazardous germs). Increasing the acidity of wine is accomplished by the addition of acids, the most widely utilized of which being itric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid
  • The use of additives in wine allows for the alteration of the flavor, look, and fragrance of the wine. For example, some of these ingredients include clay and acid
  • Others are artificial yeasts and enzymes
  • Sugar
  • Gelatin
  • And charcoal
  • And many international regulatory organizations control the usage of these ingredients and require that they be listed on product labels. Time is the most vital component in any recipe
  • It is the most difficult to measure.

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