Wine 101: Main Categories of Wine

Image: April Ferraro Reppucci

Image: April Ferraro Reppucci

Harvest is officially over for us, and all of our delicious grapes have made it through crush and into their tanks to start fermentation! I think I can speak for our Vineyard and Winemaking team when I say “phew!”. They have been working so hard to make sure we produce the best wine possible for this 2017 vintage, and things are looking great so far.

So, while over 300 tons of our crushed grapes begin fermentation, we figured we’d explain how this effects the next crucial process of winemaking.

There are six main categories of wine, all produced in slightly different ways. We are currently in the first phase of producing these different types of wine by the way we treat the grapes during fermentation.

 

Six main categories of wine:

WHITE: Wine made by crushing grapes and separating the juice from the crushed skins.

RED: Wine made by crushing grapes and macerating the crushed skins with the juice for an extended period of time. (Fun Fact: Most grapes have clear flesh. Red wine is made by leaving the crushed red skins in with the grape juice during fermentation).

ROSÉ: Wine made by crushing grapes and macerating the crushed skins for a very brief period of time. It could also be made by blending white and red wines together.

SPARKLING: Carbonated wine made by trapping carbon dioxide produced during alcoholic fermentation.

DESSERT: Wine made by arresting fermentation and keeping some residual sugars, resulting in a wine that is sweet and fruity.

FORTIFIED: Wine that is higher in alcohol, caused by fortifying the wines with neutral-flavored spirits.

 

After these basic steps are made during the fermentation phase, the real artistry of winemaking begins. So many methods can alter the profile of wine, including:

  • How long the grape skins are left with the grape juice during and after crush
  • If it is aged in steel tanks, oak barrels, or both
  • If it is a blend of multiple grape varietals

So as you can see, our winemaking team still has a lot of work ahead of them over the next few months. Luckily for them, it’s the fun part experimenting in the wine lab with different varietals, blends, aromas, and flavors.

Stay tuned for our 2017 vintage! It’s sure to be a great one.

Source:
“The Foundation.” How to Host a Wine Tasting The Complete Kit, Race Point Pub, 2014, pp. 6–7.

 

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