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Winemaking - the facts



 The Vine 
There are over a thousand different varieties of 'Vitis vinifera' (the vine used for wine production) all over the world. The grapes range from the modern types, generated by crossing pre-existing varieties, to the more traditional ones such as Pinot Noir and Riesling. MORE

 Earthy Paradise 
How much does soil affect wine quality? What's the best soil to grow wine from - New or Old World ? The French word 'terroir' encapsulates elements like the soil, the slope and the localised climate. In a sense, no two wines from different vineyards ever taste quite the same. MORE

 The climate and weather 
Each season and its weather conditions are very significant to the grape's growing process - from Spring, where growth begins, to Winter where the vine lies dormant after picking and harvesting, and is prepared for the next year. MORE
  What can go wrong 
The winemaker faces a number of problems which affect his production. These vary from poor soil and bad weather, where frosts and hail can destroy vineyards, to pests and diseases. These threats can be avoided by regular spraying and pesticide treatment. MORE

 What's in a grape  
The grape, of course, plays the most important role. The extracted skin provides colour and tannins as well as natural flavours. The sugar is converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide and the acids give the wine its freshness - the winemaker can also include the stalks for a woody tannin. MORE

 Into the winery 
White and red grapes are prepared differently before fermentation in the winery. Whether the final product's a red, white, rose, sweet or sparkling, the fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats - although some grapes are still fermented in oak barrels, affecting the wine's flavour. MORE
 Cleaning up the wine and bottling 
A number of treatments can be employed to stabilise and clarify wine, including filtration and adding fining agents before bottling. Hygiene and sterility are priorities in reducing risks of contamination and oxidation in bottling. Are synthetic bottle closures better than traditional cork? MORE


by Jonathan Pedley



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