The Fermentation Process of Wine
People often wonder what the process is that turns the juice of grapes, and sometimes other fruits, into wine. The process is known as fermentation and does occur naturally when a fruit is not eaten and left exposed. During wine fermentation, the process is controlled so that the proper flavor and level of alcohol can be achieved. Winemakers have perfected this process and have it down to an exact science. Many wineries have been in the same family for many generations and the exact process they use is a closely guarded secret. Other wineries are more commercial and they follow pretty much the same process from place to place.
No matter what the exact recipe is, there are a few elements that are required. First, you must have the right sugar content. You must also have the right amount of yeast and just the right amount of oxygen. It is the blend of these elements and the quality of the grapes (or other fruit) that is used that will help determine the taste and alcohol content of the wine. Wine fermentation is actually both an art and a science which is why there are so many varieties each with its own unique characteristics.
The color, bouquet and taste of the wine are all determined by applying the different elements in just a particular way. For instance, many people assume that the color of wine is determined by the color of the grape used. They conclude that white wine comes from green grapes and red wine comes from red grapes, however this assumption is entirely incorrect. The wine fermentation process actually determines the color of the wine. Leaving the skin on the grapes during the first part of the fermentation process will yield the red color in the wine. The longer the skins are in the mixture the deeper the color of the wine.
Wine has been made and enjoyed by people all over the world for centuries. In fact, next to water and milk, it is the oldest drink in the world. The wine fermentation process is the science and art that creates a good glass of wine. Although it is not necessary to know this information to enjoy the benefits of a glass of wine, this information can be a useful conversation starter at your next party.