Red wine is one of the most sophisticated and sought after drinks in the world. It is perfect in almost any setting, whether it be a joyous wedding celebration or a romantic dinner for two. Each winemaker has his or her own special recipe and technique for coming up with the perfect blend of red wine, and no two recipes can give the same taste.
Red wine and other wines have gained massive popularity not only through tradition but through pop culture exposure. More and more athletes, musicians, and other celebrity types are not only getting into wine but are investing and even partnering in their own wine making businesses. Traditional and aged bottles can be sold for hundreds of thousands at celebrity auctions while visiting vineyards and wine tasting events become more of a novelty.
Red wine is produced through a variety of different processes, but the general progression is still the same. Most red wines are labeled as such because of their color, which usually spans a number of different color schemes, from almost black, to dark red, light red, ruby red, to even purple and violet.
The color of the wine is due to the grapes it is produced from. While the grape juice is fermenting the skin of the grape is constantly stirred throughout, giving the mixture its color. Wines are made from a large variety of different grapes, and each grape gives the wine its distinct flavor and character. Grapes can be separated into two main divisions: white grapes and black grapes. These names are a bit misleading, as none of the grapes labeled as white grapes are actually white, and none of the grapes labeled as black grapes are actually black. White grapes are those which have a lighter skin, and are usually green, yellowish-green, goldish-green, or even a light orange. Black grapes are much darker, and contain those which are red, blue, or purple and violet.
The red wine’s production begins at the vineyard. A certain type of grape, or a certain variety of grapes are harvested and brought to the winery. Once there the grapes are taken a machine called a crusher, where the machine works to separate the stems from the clusters of grapes, and crushes the grapes into another container. Once in the container the yeast, which naturally collects on the skins of the grapes in the vineyard, interacts with the sugar in the crushed grapes and naturally begins the fermentation process, releasing carbon dioxide.
The winemaker can then decide on the length of time he wishes to ferment his wine, with aging periods having a wide range of as little as three days to as long as three years. The winemaker must also decide on the proper container to ferment his wine in, as different materials provide different results. Stainless steel and oak containers are the most used barrels in today’s wine industry. The wine will then go through various other filtering processes and eventually be bottled, corked, and stored in a cool, dark environment, usually a wine cellar.
The difference between a white wine and a red wine is simply the pigmentation. While red wines get their color from the skin of black grapes, white wines get their color from simply a lack of the pigmentation in white grapes, giving it a clear, yellowish color. However, white wines can still be made from black grapes, since the juice on the inside of the grape is basically the same. In this progression the juice is squeezed out and the skins are left out of the process.
Tannins also are a large reason why red wines differ from white wines. Tannins are naturally occurring polyphenols found in the skin of the grapes, the seeds, and are naturally added to the wines throughout its production. Tannins give red wine its naturally dry taste, and also give it a complexity and astringency that make it well known. They are a reason why a lot of wines, especially red wines are labeled as dry instead of sweet. Tannins can also be found in white wines by through the process of aging in wooden barrels.