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The process of making wine involves six-steps: growing grapes, harvesting, crushing and pressing, fermentation, clarification, and bottling. From the time you pluck the first grape from the harvest to the time a bottle gets its label, this is how the process of making wine takes place.
1. Growing grapes is the first step in the making of this intoxicating drink that in 2002 alone, sold 595 million gallons in the United States. In general, the type of grape you use will determine the type of wine, whether it be a Chardonnay or Merlot. Grape growing is dependant upon conditions of soil, topography, and climate to be just right.
2. At precisely the right time, you will need to harvest the grapes to prepare them for the process of winemaking. The harvesting season varies based on the type of wine and the locale of the vineyard. In the northern hemisphere, winemakers will harvest the grapes between late September and early October. There are two methods of picking grapes – either by the preferred method of hand picking or by a mechanical picker.
3. Mechanical crushing and pressing occurs as the next step to making wine. This process extracts the must or juices, which will soon become wine. In order to make white wine, after crushing, you have to separate the must from the skin and seeds. The process of making red wine involves leaving the skin intact for coloring and flavor during fermentation.
4. Wine fermentation involves storing the must in fermentation tanks, cooled to a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Add yeast and sugar to start the process of wine fermentation. The must might be stored in fermentation tanks for as little as less than two weeks to over four weeks time.
5. The next step is clarification. Winemakers will typically store the must in barrels to allow the solids to settle or apply filtration methods to separate out the unwanted particles out of the wine.
6. The final step is the bottling process. One method of getting the wine into the bottle is by using a pump to suction the liquid from storage and into a bottle machine which measures out a predetermined amount into each wine bottle. The machine will seal the wine bottle with a cork. Finally, a labeling machine places the final touch on the product, and it's ready for consumption.