how to make red wine

Neutral oak barrels can be cleaned, maintained, and used for many years past the fading of their oaky flavors. The use of untoasted oak and fermentation tannin can also help to reduce vegetal (bell pepper) aromas in wines from colder growing regions.

Thanks to Ribereau-Gayon (1998) we have this handy definition: “[r]ed wine is a macerated wine. For white wine, buy white grape juice. Physics for fun! If you get healthy grapes, you should not need to rinse them at all. This is the messy bit.

Voila! After many months of aging, your wine will be ready to bottle. Aging red wines in barrels gives them rich flavors of vanilla and baking spice from the oak. Before fermentation, with these freshly harvest grapes, grapes commonly undergo destemming and crushing. Concrete, stainless steel, and other wood (redwood is still used in California) vessels are common. This yeast likes to be fed, so be sure to have some, Once fermentation has started, the grapes will fill with CO2 and float above the surface of the liquid. Typically, destemming red wine grapes reduce harsh-tasting tannin. Were one to obsess about the finer points of wine, the species would be a fun place to meander. This will curb any unwanted microbes and spoilage yeasts, but will not kill the more resilient wild strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (wine yeast). Where basket presses (baskets with screw-down tops) once held sway, red wines are generally subjected to more modern techniques. The goals for red wines are often quite different from that of white and fruit wines, leading to an entirely different set of processes and parameters. The first one is fermentation. The transit aids in the gentle crushing of the grapes, encouraging them to release their juices and mingle in the vats. There are generally hoses and buckets involved, but the first, most willing juice to run is free run juice. Yeast is responsible for this bit of enological magic. The gross lees will start to stink if they are allowed to compact on the bottom of the wine, so go ahead and rack your wine off of these once they settle. Much like tea bags (and coffee grounds, should we wish to keep the warm beverage analogies running), oak barrels lose potency over time and across use. Today’s winemakers have many more options, techniques and technologies than their ancient predecessors. The press is no different. Change out the water jugs as needed and be sure to sanitize them by spraying with Starsan or a, Press into a temporary vessel like a stainless variable volume fermenter, a carboy, or a food grade barrel blanketed with argon gas. Oak warrants a lingering glance. Once the yeast gets going, things start to get hot. Some small amount of lees (fine lees) are okay and can help to feed malolactic bacteria which is usually a good thing. The skin contact in red wine production allows color, flavor and textural compounds to be integrated into the juice, while the yeast converts sugar to alcohol. Instead of taking complicated wine courses, he blogged on specific themes to learn more. Here, I will do my best to lay out in detail the steps used to make a high quality red wine … A final adjustment of sulfur dioxide is often made just before a wine is bottled. This is the process that’s changed the most since ancient times, when gourds, goatskins and clay jars were the most advanced packaging materials. The extremes reach up to 1000-liter Fuders and bigger in Italy.

Red wine is made like white wine, but with one major difference. The winemaker can add complexity and perfect balance by blending together wine from different barrels and tanks.

As long as you plan to perform. Here, in the shaded confines of the winemaker’s lair, cellar work and decisions start with grapes that arrived from harvest and went through destemming (or not), maceration (generally on the skins), and the must (juice + skins) is ready for it’s first one on one encounter with its (wine)maker. This juice is ready, and it’s generally considered the highest quality juice from any harvest. Options include wood, stainless steel, fiberglass, and cement vessels in a dizzying array of sizes and configurations. We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. Red wines get their deep color from their grape skins. If you are aging in glass or stainless, consider oak alternatives like chips, cubes, spirals, or staves. Red wines need to be stirred, or “punched down,” at least twice per day when fermentation is going strong. She's WSET III certified and splits her time between technical writing for Fruition Sciences (dirt and vines) and flavorful writing for Good Company Wines (globe trotting by the glassful). Racking is the process of pumping or siphoning the now-clear wine off the sediment, which can be discarded. Generally, it ferments with the grape skins and juice combined in a tank or vat. For more tips and tricks, check out the, Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you choose to buy a product through my links at. The cylinder rotates, grapes pass through the holes to be collected and stems funnel out the end. Make sure to churn up any gross lees that may have settled to the bottom. Micro Oxidation is very hard to replicate in stainless or glass containers. After this, some winemakers add commercial yeast to begin fermentation while others let the native yeast that clings to the grapes or exists in the cellar’s atmosphere start the fermentation. Over time acidity softens, tannins combine and fall out of suspension, flavors stabilize and concentrate. Red wine can age from 4 weeks to 4 years (or longer!) Run the wine into bottles (using the cleaned plastic tubing), leaving space for the cork plus about a half inch or so of extra room.

Too soft, it might leave the wine lighter in color and texture. Let’s start with the crush. This also saves the must from bacteria and oxygen loving enzymes. The wine is chilling in its fermentation vessel, soaking out some color. Dark-colored grapes are harvested, crushed, fermented, stirred and … Must is pumped out from the bottom of the tank into a separate tank. Malolactic Fermentation is incredibly common in red wines. Use a homemade or store bought, Monitor your temperature very closely during the active fermentation. Delivered to the winery, winemakers can also sort out mildewed grapes, unwanted raisins, leaves and debris. It is important to compare your wine against similar commercial wines to keep your taste buds calibrated and know your competition. The grapes are placed into the cylinder, the balloon inflates to press the grapes against the side of the cylinder with a specific amount of pressure. Thank You! Some regions legally mandate a designated wines age (Spain, Italy, France, and other Old-World countries all carry these mandates). This will curb any unwanted microbes and spoilage yeasts, but will not kill the more resilient wild strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (wine yeast). Size does matter here as well. Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox. Do just the opposite if you want to encourage a slow MLF.

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