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Wine making is something that has been done from thousands of years. Making wine is not just an art but there is also science involved in the process.
Basically, wine is made in 5 different steps.
Step 1 – Harvesting

The first step in winemaking is harvesting. It is grapes that contain all the necessary esters, tannins, and acids that make wine delicious. In fact, it is the moment the grapes are picked from the vineyard that determines the sweetness, aroma, and acidity of the wine.


Besides the traditional tasting method, a little bit of science is required to decide when to harvest the grapes. When picking grapes, it is significant to make sure that the sweetness and acidity of the grapes are in perfect balance. And not to forget, the weather also plays a significant role in the harvesting process.

Harvesting can be done by hand or by machinery. However, most winemakers prefer to do this by hand, as machinery is known to adversely affect grapes and vineyards. After the grapes are picked, they are taken to the winery and sorted into bunches. Ripe and rotten grapes are removed.

Step 2 – Crushing

Once the grapes have split into bunches, now it's time to separate them from the stems and crush them. This process used to be done by feet in the past. If you have been on a wine tour before, most wineries allow you to crush grapes with your feet as part of the tour.


However, the majority of the winemakers now do this crushing process mechanically. There are mechanical presses available for this process.

As a result of the crushing process, fresh grape juice contains seeds, solids, and skins of the grapes.

While the wine producers prefer to stay away from the machines in the harvesting process as it negatively affects the grapes, the machines in the crushing process have made the process healthier and helped increase the quality and longevity of the grapes.

Seeds, solids, and skins are quickly separated from the grape juice to prevent tannins and color from seeping into the wine if white wine is being made.

On the other hand, if making red wine, the seeds, solids, and skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice to let the juice take on additional tannins, flavor, and color.

Step 3 – Fermentation

Crushing and pressing are followed by the fermentation process. When wild yeast is added, it naturally begins to ferment within 6 to 12 hours. However, many winemakers add cultured yeast to wine to predict the final result and ensure consistency.

This fermentation process continues until all the sugar has been converted to alcohol. As a result, dry wine is produced. If sweet wine is to be made, winemakers stop the process in between to prevent all the sugar from being converted.


The whole fermentation process can take about a week to a month or even more.

Step 4 – Clarification

After fermentation, now it's time for the clarification process. This is the process of removing tannins, proteins and dead yeast from wine. For this, the wine is transferred to stainless steel tanks or oak barrels.


Filtering or refining is used for clarification. For clarification, substances that will cause refining are also added. For example, some winemakers add clay to wine to which unwanted particles will stick, and the clay takes them to the bottom of the storage tank or barrel. Filters are used to capture larger particles. After clarification, the wine is transferred to another tank and prepared for aging or bottling.

Step 5 – Aging and Bottling

The aging and bottling of the wine is the final stage of production. The wine can be bottled instantly, or the winemaker can give the wine additional aging. 

The wine is transferred to oak barrels, stainless steel tanks, or bottles for the aging process.

Most winemakers choose to use oak barrels for aging as they are known to add a rounder, smoother, and more vanilla-like flavor to the wine. It also helps increase their exposure to oxygen, reduces tannins, and allows the wine to achieve an optimal flavor. Steel tanks are generally preferred for white wines. The wine is bottled with a screw cap or cork when the aging process is finished.

These are the five steps that make up the winemaking process. As mentioned above, winemakers can create different processing variations to find their unique flavor.
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