Wine is an alcoholic drink created by fermenting the juice of grapes. While other fruits like apples, cranberries, and plums can be used to make wine, when a product is labeled simply as “wine,” it is usually made from grapes (which are different from table grapes). The key difference between wine and beer is that wine is made from fruit and beer is made from grains (such as barley or hops). However, there are some variations of beer that are made from fruits or other ingredients, but that’s a different topic.
What are wine grapes?
Wine grapes are a distinct variety from table grapes, characterized by their smaller size, higher sugar content, and plentiful seeds. The majority of wine comes from a single species of vine, known as Vitis vinifera, which has its origins in the Caucasus region.
Within the Vitis vinifera species, there are thousands of different varieties, with Cabernet Sauvignon being one of the most well-known. The term “vintage” refers to the annual production of wine, as it takes an entire season for wine grapes to mature. The vintage year listed on a wine label indicates the year the grapes were harvested and turned into wine. In the northern hemisphere (Europe, US), the grape-picking season occurs between August and September, while in the southern hemisphere (Argentina, Australia), it takes place between February and April. “Vintage” is derived from the French word “vendange,” meaning “harvest,” and “age,” referring to the year it was produced.
A single-varietal wine is a type of wine made mainly from one specific grape variety. These wines are often labeled with the name of the grape variety used, for instance, a Riesling wine is made primarily from Riesling grapes. The percentage of the grape variety required to be considered a single-varietal wine varies by country. In the USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and Greece, at least 75% of the grape variety must be used. In Argentina, the requirement is 80%. Meanwhile, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, and New Zealand require at least 85% of the grape variety. In Oregon, the requirement is even higher, at 90%.
A wine blend is a type of wine that is made from a combination of different grape varieties. Blending grapes is a long-standing winemaking tradition, and there are many well-known wine blends produced in traditional winemaking regions. Typically, blending takes place after the fermentation and aging process is finished. When grapes are blended and fermented together, it is referred to as a field blend. A well-known example of a field blend is Port wine.
The flavor of wine is determined by several factors such as acidity, sweetness, alcohol, tannin, and aroma compounds produced during fermentation. Wine is acidic and has a tart taste, with a pH range of 2.5 (similar to lemon) to 4.5 (similar to Greek yogurt). The sweetness of wine can vary from dry (no sugar) to sweet like maple syrup, with the term “dry” referring to a wine with no sweetness. The average alcohol content in wine is between 10% and 15% ABV (alcohol by volume), with Moscato d’Asti being as low as 5.5% ABV and Port wine having a higher alcohol content of 20% ABV due to being fortified with neutral brandy. Tannin, found in red wine, contributes to its astringent quality and has a taste similar to a wet black tea bag. The aroma and flavor of wine is also influenced by the presence of aroma compounds from different grape varieties and aging in oak barrels, which contributes oak barrel flavor compounds like vanillan and allows for exposure to oxygen. This results in nutty and dried fruit/flower flavors that develop over time.Regenerate response
Wine can appear straightforward but becomes more intricate as you learn more about it. Despite the level of knowledge, it is possible for everyone to enjoy wine. Simply put, wine is a positive thing.