Friday, July 28, 2006

How much grapes is needed to make a bottle of wine?

Winemaking is a labor of love. It takes at least 3 months to reach the barrel and another 3 years to age. While we can easily buy a bottle of wine from the nearest retail shop at prices ranging from $15 to a few hundred dollars, just what is going on behind the label of each bottle?

One of my friends has asked me – how much grapes is required to make a bottle of wine? Commercial winery figure ranges from 0.5 kilogram to 0.85 kilogram per litre of wine, depending on the quality and viticultural practices of the vineyard. For some premium wine, grapes are harvested manually and categorized into different quality standards for winemaking. As mentioned in the previous article, botrytised grapes have the most stringent requirement and require a large amount of grapes to make a bottle of wine.

Other than the fermented grape juice (we call it “must”), there are other elements such as yeast, nutrients and additives which contribute to the final wine that is presented in the bottle. After the grapes are harvested, they are crushed and pressed to produce the juice for fermentation. Red wine goes through two stages of fermentation which in one stage, includes the grape skin and pulps. White wine only goes through a single fermentation using the juice from the crusher/presser.

Therefore, all wine can be made with both red and white grapes. The color of the wine is contributed by the duration in which the grape skin is macerated during fermentation. Skin contact helps to transfer the phenols and color from the grapes to the must. Yeast, nutrients and additives are then added throughout the process to stabilize the fermentation and to make sure that there is no microbial spoilage along the way. By the time it is ready for bottling, the wine has gone through several racking and fining to remove the remnant particles from the liquid. Finally, the finished product is a clear looking wine, should it be red or white.

Copyright of Wine Treasures Pte Ltd

By Cher Lim
Wine Treasures Pte Ltd



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