Wine Making (Vinification)
1. Harvesting - Vendange
It all starts with picking the grapes, either work or an adventure, depending on the vineyard, and on your approach to life.
2a. Stemming - Eraflage
Separates out the stems, and sends broken grapes to the press.
Note - Often the stems are not removed, but remain with the pips and skins as part of the marc.
2b. Breaking - Foulage
A horizontal press squeezes the broken grapes, separating the fresh juice (must) from the skins (marc). For most red wines, this process is used to breaking up caked grapes, but the marc goes into the fermation vats with the juice.
Note - Breaking the grapes starts the fermentation process.
The grapes sit in the fermentation vats for from 5 days to 3 weeks, depending on the kind of wine being made, to convert natural sugar to alcohol.
4. Draining - Ecoulage
Liquid wine is drained from the vat without being pressed, going straight into barrels as free-run wine (vin de goutte). The remaining pulp retains about 20% of the wine.
5. Pressing - Pressurage du Marc
The remaing pulp, after draining, is pressed to squeeze out the press wine (vin de presse). The press wine tends to be dark, harsh and unpalatable, and is mixed with free-run wine vin de goute to produce something decent. After pressing out the liquid, the remaining dry marc (skins, pips and stalks) remains. Marc can be put back in the vineyard as fertilizer
Marc is sometimes distilled to make a clear brandy-like alcohol, often flavored with other fruits. This is a popular drink in Provence.
6. Mixing - Assemblage
The free-run wine and press wine, always from the same source, are mixed together in appropriate ratios to obtain the desired balance.
7. Clarification - Clarification
Wine can be clarified by natural settling of the sedimentation, or by the addition of clarifiers.
8. Aging - Elevage des Vins de Qualité
Wine is often aged a minimum of a few months in large vats (cuves). Higher quality wines are aged anywhere from several months to around two years in oaken casks (fûts).
9. Drawing-off - Soutirages
10. Filtering - Filtration
11. Bottleing - Mise en Bouteille
The final steps of producing the wine.