From Vine to Wine

wine-grapes-48061Many people enjoy an occasional glass of wine with friends or with their dinner. Most people however don’t think about how their wine is made. Wine grapes are first picked from the vine, either by hand or by mechanical harvesters. Grape stems are then removed; sometimes the grapes are checked again to sort out leftover leaves or bad grapes before fermentation. Nearly all grapes produce white juice, red wine gets its color not from the grape’s color, but through the fermentation process. When making red wine, grapes are slightly crushed and the released juice is fermented along with the grape skins. To make white wine, juice is separated from the grape skins and the wine is usually fermented at a cooler temperature than red wines to maintain a fresh, fruity flavor.

Fermentation is the process that converts sugar in the grape juice (and grape skins) into alcohol. Wild yeast already present on the grapes consumes the sugar and produces carbon dioxide and alcohol, or, winemakers add special cultured yeasts to produce the alcohol. The more sugar in the juice, the higher the alcohol content will be. Wine can either be fermented in oak barrels, which add flavor, or in stainless steel tanks where the temperature can be regulated. Once fermentation is complete, the wine matures for several months or even years. Fining and filtering removes remaining particles from the wine; winemakers typically place egg whites in the wine so that the particles latch onto the egg white and ends up at the bottom of the barrel. Filtering then makes the wine clear and bright, the wine is then bottled and readied for drinking.

Search for local wine stores using Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of business listings. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your zip code or location. Search for businesses by choosing from the popular categories list on the home page or by entering terms like “wine” into the search box. Each listing on the results page includes an address and phone number for your convenience. Real Local Pages is useful for finding a wide variety of businesses and services, from clothing stores and restaurants, to electricians and lawn care services.

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