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11:51 AM

This is our humble presentation on Chianti Region . Your reading it will add the necessary weightage to the presentation.

Another Great Article on Chianti Region

Making Red Wine


Jim Bruce has been making growing grapes and making wine since 1974.  You too can grow your own wine grapes.  Interested in growing your own grapes for making wine?   You can buy his Tips for Growing Grapes eBook at http://www.grapegrowingbook.com

Harvesting Your Red Wine Grapes - The first step in making red wine is to have the grapes perfectly ready to be picked. They need to be harvested not only at the proper time in their life cycle, but also at the right time of day to ensure the acids and sugars are all at the right balance for the wine.

Red wine grapes should contain enough sugar to be considered ripe and be able to attain the alcohol content you are aiming for. They must also have the right balance of acids. This means "hang-time" on the vine until the grapes have met the proper quality factors. A sugar content of 24 Brix at harvest will give you about 12% alcohol.

De-stemming and Crushing - This step in making red wine removes the stems from the grape bunches, and crushes the grapes (but does not press them) so that the juices are exposed to the yeast for fermenting. This will also expose the skins so they can impart color to the wine while in the primary fermentation.

This step in making red wine can be done manually by squeezing the grape bunches over a grate with holes to allow the grapes and juice to go through while leaving the stems behind. I've used old Coke crates, perforated plates, and other means to accomplish this. (Depending on the type of wine, the stems could be left in for a more tannic flavor or removed). This mix of wine is called must and is put into a fermentation vat.

You can always "stomp" the grapes and remove the stems afterwards - the old fashioned way. There are crusher/destemmer machines that can be purchased if you have a lot of grapes to crush. If you are going to adjust the acidity, this is the time to do this.

Primary Fermentation - The must is held in a vat that can be made of food grade plastic, glass, or stainless steel for fermentation. In whichever container, the sugars inside the grapes are turned into alcohol by yeasts. The yeast used should be specific for red wine. This fermentation process typically takes from 3-4 weeks.

How long the must (juice and grape solids) is allowed to sit, picking up flavor, color and tannin is up to the wine maker. Too long and the wine is bitter, to short and it is thin. Temperature is very important during this stage - it also affects flavour and color.

Punching Down the Skins - Skin and other solids float to the top as fermentation proceeds. The carbon dioxide gas given off by the fermentation process pushes them to the surface of the developing wine. The rising skins are called the "cap" and need to be pushed back down to stay in contact with the must. This should be done a couple of times a day. As you punch down the cap, you will notice that the wine is taking on more color from the contact with the skins.

End of Primary Fermentation(?) - The winemaker must decide if the must has fermented long enough. This will take a few days to a week. Much of this decision depends on how much color you want in your red wine. Generally, the wine has not completely fermented at this time. There still should be some residual sugar that will need to go through further fermentation.

Remove Free Run and Press - At the end of the primary fermentation, the must is put into the wine press. The best quality wine is made just from the juice portion of the must. Many wine makers allow this to run off and save it for the best red wines. The rest of the drier must (now called pomace) is pressed.

Pressing squeezes the remaining juice out of the pomace. If you do it too hard, or too many times, you get low quality wine. You can save the pressings separately from the free-run or it can be combined. This pressed wine will take longer to become clear and ready for bottling.

Secondary Fermentation - The juice, now wine, needs to settle after this ordeal and continue to ferment out all the residual sugars. During this time, the wine should be stored in glass carboys fitted with fermentation locks.

Fermentation locks keep oxygen out of the wine while allowing the carbon dioxide from fermentation to escape. Without them, oxidation will occur and the wine will spoil into vinegar or something worse. In the lack of oxygen, the wine undergoes subtle changes that affect the flavors of the resulting wine.

Malo-Lactic Fermentation - Many red wines need a non-alcoholic fermentation to remove excess acidity. This secondary fermentation will turn the tart malic acid (of green apples) into the softer lactic acid (of milk). A special malo-lactic bacteria is added which allows malolactic fermentation to occur. This is done during the secondary fermentation. Wines are held at about 72F during, or at least at the end, of the secondary fermentation to favor this activity. The yeast that has settled to the bottom during the secondary fermentation also favors this process.

Racking and Clarification - Moving the wine from one container to a new container by siphoning allows you to leave solids and anything that might cloud the wine, behind. This clears the wine and prepares it for bottling. Fermentation locks must be employed with each racking to keep the wine from spoiling. Wine is racked at least once but more may be needed to assist clarification.

Cold Stabilization - During one of the aging stages between rackings and bottling, the wine can be placed in the cold of refridgeration to be stabilized. This cold period will make the cream of tarter settle out of the wine and reduce the acidity further. The wine is then racked off the cream of tartar during the next racking. I suggest you do this early in the racking and aging process of making red wine.

Aging - The wine is stored for anywhere from 9 months to 2 1/2 years to give it the correct amount of flavor. Oak barrels can be used for aging but they are very expensive. Nowdays, when making red wine at home, oak chips are used. The amount of time you age your wine with oak depends on the flavors that you wish. At the end of the aging period, you will be ready to bottle.

Fining or filtering - At the end of the aging period it helps to remove anything that may be making the wine cloudy. This can be accomplished with various fining agents (like sparkalloid), with filtering, or both. This makes the wine crystal clear for bottling and will prevent any sediments from forming during bottle aging.

Bottling - This is done carefully so that the wine does not come in contact with air. Finer wines may be stored for several years in bottles before they are drunk. But I suggest that a minimum of 6 months to a year lapse before drinking.

So there are the steps in making red wine. Properly done, you will have a wine that will not only give you drinking pleasureFree Articles, but will make you the envy of your family and friends.



Jim Bruce has conducted research on growing grapes at his Rist Canyon Vineyards in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountins.  You can find out more about his endeavors at http://www.ristcanyonvineyards.com

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5:47 AM

We hope that the matter available here on Make Wine prove to be fruitful to you in your mission for enlightenment on Make Wine .

A Featured Make Wine Article

The Curious History Of Wine Consumption In America

The Curious History Of Wine Consumption In America

 by: Ben Bicais

The history of wine consumption in America has been frought with starts, stops, and inconsistencies. The American population has always had a love-hate relationship with alcohol. Historic prohibitionist attitudes amongst much of the American population have blurred the line between moderate wine consumption and detrimental alcoholism. As a result, regular, moderate consumption of wine by the American public continues to face ideological and legal impediments.

The History of Wine Consumption During the Colonial Years

Since its origins, the history of wine consumption in America has been both encouraged and despised by different demographic groups. Spanish missionaries produced the earliest New World wine during the early 17th Century. Shortly thereafter, French immigrants began to cultivate grapes in the Hudson River Valley. They made wine, juice, and preserves.

The early history of wine consumption in America was dominated by immigrants whom were primarily Catholic, and of Central or Southern European descent. The bulk of wine-drinking immigrants came from the wine loving nations of France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. They descended from cultural traditions that valued social wine consumption with the evening meal.

The aforementioned wine drinkers were counterbalanced by immigrants from Northern Europe. Many held Puritan belief systems that discouraged or banned alcohol consumption of any kind. The nativist movements of the early 18th Century cast suspician on immigrant groups that retained Old World customs and did not entirely assimilate into American society.

Wine consumption was a lightning rod for these discriminatory points of view. Although not accurate, alcoholism was seen as a problem only associated with certain ethnic groups that enjoyed wine. Whiskey and beer was the actual source of vast majority of problematic inebriation. Nonetheless, early prohibitionist forces were very effective at linking wine to the ills of American society.

History of Wine Consumption During the 19th Century

In the 1830s, Americans consumed massive amounts of whiskey and beer. Alcoholism was extremely widespread and was affecting the stability of the American family. Husbands spent time in the saloons instead of with their families, and rampant drunkedness increased instances of philandering and crime.

Ironically, as Prohibitionist fervor gained national momentum in the nineteenth century, the American wine industry boomed. From 1860-1880, Phylloxera devastated the vineyards of France. California wine production greatly increased to fill the international void. Huge tracts of vineyards were planted in Southern California to satisfy the international demand for wine. However, most of this production was exported and it did not have a major impact on the history of wine consumption in America.

By the mid-1880s, European wine production rebounded, causing a glut of American wine. To make matters worse, Pierce's Disease and Phylloxera simultaneously struck Southern California's vineyards. Rising population and real estate values in the Los Angeles Basin was the last nail in the coffin of extensive viticulture in the region. With Prohibitionist attitudes constantly gaining momentum, American demand for wine was insufficient to make up for the loss of the much larger European market.

History of Wine During the Prohibition Years

In response to the massive outcry of many Americans against alcohol consumption, Congress passed the 18th Amendment in 1917. It banned the commercial production and sale of alcohol in America. The Volstead Act was ratified in 1920 and expounded on the actual implementation of Prohibition. It also mandated several loopholes in alcohol production and consumption. Physicians could prescribe alcohol and it could be consumed for religious purposes. Additionally, a head of household was legally allowed to produce 200 gallons of wine a year for personal use. This was largely a concession to the significant Italian-American electorate.

Because of the Volstead Act, American wine consumption actually increased during Prohibition. The traditional American alcoholic beverages of beer and distilled spirits were illegal to produce and sell from 1920-1933. As a result, regions like Lodi saw a massive increase in demand for grapes used for home winemaking.

Prohibition did not curtail the American apetite for alcohol, it merely destroyed the legal framework that governed alcohol sales. Due to the inaccessibility of alcohol, the use of other drugs, including cocaine and marijauna greatly increased. Additionally, the government lost a major source of revenue from taxing alcohol as organize crime took over the means of production and distribution. The American public became increasingly dissolutioned with the government's stubborn attempt to attain the impossible.

The 21st Amendment: Repeal of Prohibition

After a decade of the "noble experiment", Congress passed the 21st Amendment. It ended national Prohibition and transferred the authority to allow or ban production and sale of alcohol to individual states. Many states relegated this authority to the county level. Counties in some states prohibit alcohol to this day. The history of wine production and sales since the repeal of Prohibition has been governed by the 21st Amendment, not the free trade mandates of the U.S. Constitution.

Because every state has the power to make their own laws regarding wine sales, it has effectively made commercial wine distribution a convoluted mess. Marketing wine in the U.S. continues to be a difficult and frustrating task, especially for smaller wineries.

The effects of the 21st Amendment have had a major impact on the history of wine consumption in the U.S. during the 20th and 21st Centuries. Its legacy is a tangle of state and county laws that regulate the production and sale of wine.

The Fortified Wine Years

Immediately after the repeal of Prohibition, wine consumption dropped as Americans had renewed access to spirits and beer. From the repeal of Prohibition to the late 1950s, high-alcohol dessert and fortified wines dominated the market. These were the darkest days of the history of wine production and consumption. Many fortified wines were produced and sold extremely cheaply, and catered to the "misery market". "Winos" drank these overly alcoholic concoctions becauses they were the cheapest way to get drunk. In the quest for short-term profits, unscrupulous producers stamped a black mark on the history of wine in America.

From 1934 to the early 1950s, immigrant families consumed the majority of table wines. Unfortunately, many of their offspring did not follow their parents traditional drink choices and began consuming beer and cocktails as they assimilated into American society. Table wine was a mysterious beverage to most Americans and was associated with high-society and recent arrivals from Southern and Central Europe.

The Jug Wine Years

America's taste for non-fortified wines finally began to develop in the early 1960s. The majority of these new wine drinkers were young, well-traveled, and relatively affluent. As the Baby Boom generation came of age, the ranks of wine drinkers increased. Even still, the majority of consumers bought simple, sweet wines.

The early 1980s saw the height of the frenzy to promote and sell inexpensive wines to the American public. The White Zinfandel rage was and continues to be a major part of the market. Total American wine consumption reached an all-time high due to a massive influx of capital and advertising. Despite predictions of continued increases, it did not materialize.

At the same time, overall alcohol consumption decreased in the United States during the 1980s. The anti-drug and alcohol movement justifyably discouraged dangerous levels of drug and alcohol ingestion. Unfortunately, extremists in the movement also attacked the history of wine consumption in America. Zero-tolerance attitudes portrayed moderate wine consumption as not only hazardous to the individual, but also as detrimental to the entire population.

The Renaissance Years

In the late 1980s, jug wine consumption fell sharply. American tastes were changing, and the market began to demand wines with defined characteristics. Mike Benziger's Glen Ellen Winery entered the void, creating the hugely popular "fighting varietals" genre. These wines bridged the gap between the generic production of the past, and the boutique wineries of the following decade.

Much of America's current interest in quality wine stems from a 1991 60 Minutes Program that examined the health benefits of moderate wine consumption. The "French Paradox" is the fact that the French consume fatty foods, significant red wine, and have a very low incidence of heart disease. This news had a major impact on American wine consumption, especially in aging, affluent demographic groups.

The Future...Factors to Consider

As American society becomes increasingly more fast-paced and hectic, fewer families are sitting down together for dinner. This is not a positive sign for American wine consumption as few people open up a bottle of wine to drink with their drive-thru or take-out dinners.

Wine enjoyment is symtomatic of relaxation, and these days American society is anything but relaxed. The history of wine is also synonymous with stable family relationships, and the divorce rate in the U.S. is currently about 50%.

Furthermore, wine is a complicated subject that generally requires a certain amount of leisure time and money to become a true adherent. Additionally, wine has an unflattering image amongst many American alcohol consumers who prefer beer or liquor. In my opinion, there are limits to how large the quality wine market can increase.

On a more positive note, the American population is aging, and older, more affluent people tend to enjoy wine more than other demographic groups. Hopefully they will pass their appreciation of wine to the next generation.

In many ways, the history of wine consumption in the U.S. is a microcosm of both the positives and negatives that have come with the innate American experience. Studying the history of wine consumption in the U.S. illuminates the political, cultural, religious, and racial diversity that has made the nation what it is today.

America has a relatively small but growing population of wine-lovers. Although the number of regular wine drinkers are far from being a majority, they will continue to grow as the population ages. Future trends will probably include an increase in consumption of quality varietals grown in specific, terroir-driven locations.

About The Author

Ben Bicais lives in the Napa Valley and is the webmaster of http://www.california-wine-tours-and-accessories.com.


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