Wine is made out of grapes. The process of growing grapes is called viticulture and the process of growing grapes for wine making is referred to as viniculture. Though many a times both the terms are used interchangeably.
The region in which grapes are grown highly affects the quality of grapes and hence the wine produced from it. Certain region or environmental conditions are best suited for a certain variety of grapes and hence it is important for a wine maker to understand the terrains in which the grapes are grown.
Terroir is a term used to collectively describe the attributes or factors of a region which affect the growth of grapes. Various factors that affect the grape cultivation are
- Climatic conditions like – Temperature, Rain, Sunlight, Wind
- Topography of the land – Hill sides Vs. Plains.
Appellation of Origin
On every bottle of wine there is, you will find an Appellation of Origin. It refers to any geographical region i.e. city, state, country or county where most of the grapes used in the production of that particular wine were grown.
Anatomy of a Grape and Usage
Looking at the anatomy of a grape, it consists of the pulp, skin and seeds. Pulp is the center part of the grape which consists of water and sugar and becomes wine. The sugar content of a grape is directly proportional to its alcoholic content. It is the sugar that becomes alcohol during the fermentation process.
Skin is responsible for the aroma, color and flavour of the wine. Tannins, which provide the dry texture to the wine also comes from the skin of the grapes. Less tannins can make a wine dull and tasteless while higher level of tannins can make it bitter. More the skin stays in contact with wine during the production process greater will be the tannin content of the wine.
White wine is made of white grapes which have yellowish to greenish tinge. Red wines are made of Black grapes. White wine can also be made of Black grapes where it is fermented without the skin. Rose wine is also made up of black grapes but the duration for which the skin is in contact with the wine is shorter which gives it the required color.
Sweet and Dry Wines
- A wine is said to be dry when all the sugar is converted to alcohol upon fermentation
- A wine is said to be sweet when there is residual sugar left in the wine.
Many people mistake sweetness of wine with its fruitiness. Fruitiness just refers to the flavour and aroma and not the sweetness.
We know how French love their wines. With Cheese! The tradition of serving cheese with wines started way back when wines produced were not as fine and had excessive tannins. High fatty foods lowers the harshness of the bitter wine while drinking.
Also read: 14 Wine jargons you must know