Course: ABCs of Wine Tasting

Class 1: Tasting Preparation

the winemaking process

The basic recipe for wine: Grapes + Yeast = Alcohol
  • Ingredients
         - Grapes (red or white)
  • Vineyard
         - Grapes ripen, the sugar in each berry increases
  • Harvest
         - Grapes are picked when ripe, sweet and juicy
  • Destem
         - Once grapes reach the winery, stems are removed
  • Crush
         - Berries are lightly crushed, just enough to break the
  • White Wines: Press > Fermentation
         - White grapes are pressed before fermentation to
           separate skins from juice
  • Red Wines: Fermentation > Press
         - Red grapes are pressed after fermentation so red
           skins can steep in the juice and color the wine
  • Aging
         - Wines may be aged for a few months to a few years
  • Bottle

View the winemaking

Ready to enroll? First, you must register for a membership to Your membership benefits include:

FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School

Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes

FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are

E-newsletters with advance ratings

Editors’ blogs

Food and wine matching tool

And much more

Log In If You're Already a Member

Please log in using your email address and password for Wine Spectator School students who enrolled before 7.4.10, log in with your email address and school password or get more info here.

Forgot Password?

By clicking "Log in" you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Wine Spectator Online

Read our FAQ for more information

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences