Wine can be processed in different ways. Each process gives different outcome. Here are the processes that can affect the quality and taste of wine.
1. Date of harvest
The date at which the grapes are picked affects the quality and taste of wines. If the winemaker picks a date early, the wines will be more acidic with lower alcohol and will have green aromas and flavors. It will have more bitter tannin as well. If you pick grapes at a later date, then there will be less acidity, higher alcohol, and less tannin.
2. Cold soaking and skin contact
These two terms refer to how long the grape skins touch the juice before converting to wine. Cold soaking occurs before there is any alcohol present. Cold soaking means extracting the color and fruit flavors from skins, but leaving out the bitter tannin.
3. Hot fermentation vs. cool fermentation
Fermentation temperature changes the ultimate fruit flavors and color in wine. The temperature of hot fermentation can reach 80 – 1000F. Warmer fermentation is needed for red wines as they increase the color and tannin. Some winemakers also use warmer fermentation for white wines as well. Cold fermentations are done with white and rose wines. Cooler temperature helps preserve the aromas in white wines. These are the reasons why it is important to serve wines at the right temperature.
4. Pump overs vs. punch downs
Pump overs get higher amounts of tannin in the wind. Some of these systems offer gentler extraction and others aggressively stir up the tank where fermentation is done. Pump over systems is widely used in large fermentation tanks that are used for commercial operations. Punch downs, on the other hand, are a delicate way to stir wine. With this method, skins are not extracted too much. Very little oxygen is added in the fermentation. These are done by hand.
5. Oak-aging vs. steel tank
Oak aging adds a vanilla flavor to wine. It also increases the wine’s exposure to oxygen as it ages. Oxygen lowers the level of tannin and helps wine get its ultimate fruitiness. Wines that are aged for many years have nutty flavors. For zesty white wines, steel tanks are used. It is also used for red wines.
6. Screwcaps vs. corks
In winemaking, it’s important to decide whether to use a cork or a screwcap. In many occasion, the difference is not a big deal. But some winemakers have specific preferences.
The choice of these processes affects the outcome of wine. Many of these processes depend on the preference of the winemaker. So, a winemaker must have an in-depth knowledge on these.