As touched upon in the preceding article, “Making White Wine, a Labour of Love” making wine is a very time consuming and difficult job. Timing must be perfect as does combinations of ingredients. The same goes for all other types of wine: red, rose and sparkling.
Rosé wine is a red wine that is made with the same methods of a white wine. The production is the same except that the skins are thrown in with the juice. Few winemakers prefer to make rosé wine by mixing some red wine into white wine, but this is not the popular method. When using the skins to make rosé wine most important thing is to only leave the skins in with the juice for a short period of time, long enough to give it that rose color and make it ever so slightly tannic.
Making red wine involves using the entire grape except for the stalks. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed, but instead of filtering the skins from the juice the skins are transferred to open top tanks where they are continuously stirred so the flavor and color from the skins will become infused with the wine during fermentation. The wine is then filtered to remove the skins and put into barrels to age from six months up to two years before being bottled and sold.
Then you have sparkling wine or Champagne. Because of the Treaty of Madrid in 1891 and the Treaty of Versailles in, only wines from the French region of Champagne are allowed to be called as such, which is why everything else is referred to as sparkling wine. However it is important to note that the United States never ratified the treaty and therefore some wine makers today use the term Champagne on their bottles, only if the original place of origin is on the label as well to prevent confusion. The wines most commonly used are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. The first step is to have a “base wine” which is usually made from very acidic grapes giving it a horrible taste. The next step involves getting the bubbles into the wine.
There are three methods that can be used to get bubbles into wine, carbonation, transfer method and méthode champenoise. Carbonation, the same method used in soft drinks, is the cheapest. Carbon dioxide is pumped into a wine tank and then the wine is bottled under pressure to prevent the case from escaping. The transfer method is when a sweetened base has yeast added to it and is allowed to ferment a second time in an enclosed tank so the building carbon dioxide cannot escape. After fermentation, the wine is then clarified and re-sweetened if necessary before being bottled under pressure. This method is used to produce medium price range sparkling wine. The final method is méthode champenoise, which is when the wine has a second fermentation in the bottle. This method is used to produce the best quality wines.
Making wine is an art form. It takes knowledge, skill but most of all patience. The process of making wine from picking the grapes to bottling can be months or years, which is why winemakers are so passionate about their work. So the next time you pour yourself a glass, think about the voyage those little grapes have made.
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