Oregon Travel Council - Page 18

5 Steps of the wine making proHarvest Harvesting is the first step in the actual wine making process. In order to make fine wine, grapes must be harvested at the precise time. Harvesting can be done mechanically or by hand. Once the grapes arrive at the winery, reputable winemakers will sort the grape bunches, culling out rotten or under ripe fruit before crushing. Crushing Crushing the whole clusters of fresh ripe grapes is the next step in the wine making process. In the prior years, it was men and women who danced in barrels to crush the grapes. Now there are mechanical crushers that are stomping or trodding the grapes. Mechanical pressing has also improved the quality and longevity of wine, while reducing the winemaker's need for preservatives. Fermentation Fermentation is an important role in making wine. Juice will begin fermenting naturally within 6-12 hours with the aid of wild yeasts in the air. However, for a variety of reasons, many winemakers prefer to intervene at this stage by stopping the wild yeasts and then introduce a strain of yeast of personal choosing in order to more readily predict the end result. Once fermentation begins, it normally continues until all of the sugar is converted to alcohol and a dry wine is produced. Fermentation can require anywhere from ten days to a month or more. Clarification Once fermentation is completed, the clarification process begins. Winemakers may siphon their wines from one tank or barrel to the next in the hope of leaving the precipitates and solids called pomace in the bottom of the fermenting tank. Filtering and fining may a lso be done at this stage. Filtration can be done from a course filter that catches only large solids, or a sterile filter pad that strips wine of all life. Fining occurs when substances are added to a wine to clarify them. The clarified wine is then racked into another vessel, where it is ready for bottling or further aging Bottling The final stage of the wine making process involves the aging and bottling of wine. After clarification the winemaker has the choice of bottling a wine immediately, or he or she can give a wine additional aging. 16 Wine Glasses © epicantus OREGON TRAVEL AND RECREATION GUIDE