The Basics

What is Wine?

Hondarrabi Zuri Grapes

Definition:

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of grapes (or other fruits and berries).

How is Wine Made?

Much like anything else, making wine can be a very simple process, with complex steps added along the way.

In this section, we layout the most basic steps in order to give you a good general idea of how wine is made.

Step one:

Grapes

The grapes are grown in the vineyard by a vigneron (grape farmer). Sometimes the vigneron is also the winemaker, but this is not always the case.

Step Two:

Harvest

Once the grapes reach the proper ripeness, they are picked (harvested) and brought to the winery.

Step Three:

Crush

The winery gently crushes the grapes and removes them from their stems. Then the crushed grapes are pressed in order to squeeze out the juice.
*For red wine, the grapes are crushed and fermented before pressing off the juice. Read more about it on our Wine Styles section.

Step Four:

Fermentation

At this point, yeast is introduced to the juice to begin the process of fermentation. Learn more about fermentation below.

Step Five:

Aging

Once the wine is finished fermenting, it is racked (pumping the wine off the dead yeast cells) into barrels or stainless steel tanks to allow the wine to age.

What is Fermentation?

Definition:

Fermentation is the process of converting sugar to ETHANOL (ethyl alcohol) and CO2 by way of yeast.

When the yeast is introduced to the sugary juice, it eats through the sugar and converts it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

The CO2 gasses off into the air, leaving behind the alcohol (which, in the case of grape juice, is the wine!).

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