Pumping is a delicate process — even more when handling media as sensitive as world class wines. While every vineyard will have its own recipe, the challenges they are facing are rather similar: World class vintages need a world class process. With pumping being a crucial step …
According to the Wine Institute, 330 million cases of wine were consumed in 2010 alone. From 2010 to 2011, wine consumption in the US increased by 4.5 %, making America the world’s leading wine market. According to Vinexpo.com, the global wine and spirits industry is now a US$ 170-billion-market — approx. the same size as the cosmetics industry. An end is not in sight: In 2014, Vinexpo projects, the market could reach US$ 200 billion.
All this paints one tasty picture: the booming wine industry has exploded with countries like China and Russia positioning themselves as prominent players approaching the ranks of world leaders like the US, France and Italy. Around the globe, there is a push to penetrate this growing market. For this, processes that produce both quality and profitability are needed.
The process of winemaking involves numerous stages that must be followed precisely to ensure highest quality — starting with the grapes being harvested, taken into a winery and prepared for fermentation. At this stage, red wine is created by fermenting the pulp (or “must”) and skins of the red or black grapes, which gives the wine its color. White wine, on the other hand, does not include the grape skins in the fermentation process; only the juices are extracted.
To start primary fermentation, a process that typically takes between one to two weeks, yeast is added. These organisms convert the sugars in the grape juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide, which then evaporates into the atmosphere. The produced liquid, which is known as “free wine,” is then pumped into tanks and the skins are pressed in order to extract the remaining wine and juice. This wine, known as the “press wine,” can be added to the free wine to bring more character and longevity to the wine.
How Wine is Made
The next step is the so-called secondary fermentation, a bacterial fermentation involving the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid. This decreases the acidity of the wine, thus softening the taste. The wine can then be transferred to oak barrels for maturation, with further adjustments to taste and color being made prior to filtering and bottling.
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