Production of Red Wine
Red wine is made exclusively from black grapes, the colour coming from the skins.
- The harvest grapes are allowed to macerate in a cool room beneath a coating of sulpher for 24 hours or longer.
- The grapes are crushed just to break the skin. Stalks may be or may not be removed, depending on amount of tannin required.
- From the crusher the grapes go straight to the fermentation vats, skins and all. The fermentation may take a few days to a month.
- A process called carbonic maceration or ‘whole berry fermentation’ is used to make the youthful, soft, lighter reds. In this process the whole grape are fermented in sealed vats. Carbon dioxide produced during fermentation is trapped in the vat, fasting the fermentation process that is completed in five days.
- The colour of red wine depends on the contact of fermenting with the skin. For richer reds, the skins are left in contact with juice for days or even weeks once the fermentation is complete.
- Chapitalization is done as required.
- The weight of the mass of grapes squeezes the fermented juice, which is allowed to run into cask as “free flowing wine” the rest of the bulk goes into the press to produce highly tannic dark wine. The fee run wine and press wine may later be blended.
- Both the free run wine and pressed wine are passed into vats where they may be allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation.
- Red wines require more time for maturation to allow tannins to mellow. Maturation is carried out in oak barrels where it gets additional flavour and complexity.
- During maturation the wine is racked to avoid growing stale. The wine may be filtered before bottling, though many quality conscious winemakers do not do it as it removes flavours.
- The wine is bottled. Expensive and complex red wines continue maturing in bottles. Simple red wines loose colour, freshness if left in bottles for too long and good for prompt drinking.