The Winemaking Process

 

Harvest

 
This is the time of the year every winemaker looks forward to. Harvest occurs in late summer into fall depending on the particular type of grape variety and region.

Hand Picked

 

Machine Harvested

 
A much slower process than more automated methods such as mechanized harvesting, but much gentler on the grapes. Berries will remain intact during harvest, maximizing the harvest.
Very efficient at harvesting, but also very rough on the grapes. Prone to lots of breakage, and extra steps such as blanketing the pickings with C02 are necessary to prevent oxidation of the harvest which suffers from breakage.

Crushing

 
 
Grapes are taken from harvest and destemmed and crushed. This breaks open the grapes to create the free run juice and exposes the internals of the grape to get ready for fermentation or pressing. The process diverts here into two paths for white and red wines

White Wines

Red Wines

White wines do not have extended contact with skins, so they go straight to the press after being crushed. For roses there can be a short period of contact with the grape skins in order to pull some of the pink hue.
 
Red wines will take some time to sit on the skins, stems, etc. so they will go through primary fermentation before being pressed.

Press

Maceration

A much slower process than more automated methods such as mechanized harvesting, but much gentler on the grapes. Berries will remain intact during harvest, maximizing the harvest.
Very efficient at harvesting, but also very rough on the grapes. Prone to lots of breakage, and extra steps such as blanketing the pickings with C02 are necessary to prevent oxidation of the harvest which suffers from breakage.


Reds are pressed after primary fermentation
Reds go to secondary

Primary Fermentation

Grapes are taken from harvest and destemmed and crushed. This breaks open the grapes to create the free run juice and exposes the internals of the grape to get ready for fermentation or pressing. The process diverts here into two paths for white and red wines

Secondary Fermentation

Grapes are taken from harvest and destemmed and crushed. This breaks open the grapes to create the free run juice and exposes the internals of the grape to get ready for fermentation or pressing. The process diverts here into two paths for white and red wines

Fining

The fining process involves adding various substances to perform a variety of tasks. From removing tannins, reducing astringency or to help clear wines.

Filtering

An optional step, this process removes the solid particles (sediment) or microorganisms (yeast) from the wine. Plate and frame filters are very common for this and push wine through cellulose pads to perform this task. However, some winemakers prefer not to filter their wine, in fear that flavors, color, or other positive characteristics would be filtered out of the wine.

Bulk Aging

Bottling

The final stage of the winemaking process, and the step every winemaker looks forward to. There is no set method of getting wine into bottles, but it is generally performed with some sort of mechanized equipment. Wine is usually pumped into a bottler which then dispenses a set amount of wine into bottles. Corks or screw caps are then applied to complete the seal and finish the bottle.