As winemakers have known since 3000 B.C., making wine is a straightforward process, requiring ripe grapes and a watertight container. Since then, winemakers have learned that yeasts ferment the grapes' natural sugars into alcohol, and today the basic winemaking equation remains:
Grapes + Yeast + Container = Wine
WINERY DECISIONS: Receiving the Grapes
Throughout the winemaking process, the winemaker makes many decisions that affect the wine's quality and style.
This section follows the process of winemaking from the arrival of the grapes at the winery to the wine's departure. The basic winemaking process is largely the same for most red and white wines, so they will be discussed together. However, significant differences will be noted.
Sorting, or checking the grapes:
When bins loaded with grapes come in from...