This is the process of actually making the wine.  There are 5 basic stages to the vinification process. The details of each will vary with differing grape varieties and styles of wine, but all wines follow the same basic process.


1. Harvesting the grapes  grape harvest


The moment when the grapes are harvested will impact the taste of the final wine.  The riper the grape the more sugar will be in the fruit, and the sugar levels can either produce a sweet wine or a high alcohol content, depending on the fermentation process.



2. Pressing to extract the juice  pressing grapes


All grape juice is relatively clear.  The colour of the wine comes from the skins of the grape, so for a white wine the fruit must be squeezed gently to maintain a pale colour, while fruit a red wine can be totally crushed.



3. Fermentation  wine fermentation


Fermentation is when the fruit sugars are converted to alcohol by yeast.  Yeasts are often naturally present on the grapes, and sometimes must be added, then the fermentation process can be controlled by varying temperature and time.



4. Racking/Maturing  wine maturing in cask


Once fermented the juice has to be stored to allow the sediments to settle to the bottom and the new wine to mature.  The wine may be stored in large vats or in barrels, and the storage time and the storage vessel will influence the character and flavour of the finished product.




5. Fining  fining the wine


The fining process is simply the final clarifying of the wine.  Once the liquid is drawn off from the maturing vessel it may still contain solids in suspension and these need to be cleared before the wine is bottled.


(sometimes steps 4 and 5 are reversed)


6. Bottling  wine being bottled


Finally the wine is bottled and either put into storage to mature further, or packed, ready for distribution and drinking.