We will talk about the berries, how to grow grapes and the science behind the wine itself. These miraculous and natural processes are lovely to think about. Alcoholic beverages come in a wide range and are typically produced using a similar method. They involve fermenting a sweet liquid, which produces alcohol and can result in people behaving foolishly. The distinction between wine and other alcoholic drinks lies in the involvement of scientific processes. Making gin is relatively straightforward compared to the complex process of growing grapes in the ideal climate and transforming them into wine. While winemaking can become intricate, we will attempt to give you a fundamental understanding. Essentially, wine originates from the berries, specifically the small berries.
For a winemaker or a vineyard owner, every individual berry and cluster of grapes holds great importance. Their primary responsibility is to possess comprehensive knowledge about the vines they cultivate, including the amount of water they receive, their exposure to sunlight, and the prevailing climate conditions. It is crucial for winemakers to carefully monitor each grape, understanding how to cultivate and nurture them. Familiarity with the berries’ appearance, taste, and aroma is essential, as well as recognizing how they evolve during different stages of growth.
Structure of Grape
Grapes have a simple structure consisting of a seed at the center, flesh surrounding it, and skin on the outside. Like other fruits, wine is primarily made from the flesh, although the other components also play a role. Each part of the grape has its own unique composition, which affects the taste of the final wine product. By altering factors such as the size and age of the berry during harvesting, the wine can be different in various subtle ways. The berry obtains nutrients through two methods: xylem and phloem. As you may recall from biology class, the xylem is responsible for transporting water, minerals, and other substances from the roots to the vine. In contrast, the phloem transports sugar produced during photosynthesis from the leaves back to the vine to nourish the grapes.
How to Grow Grapes in the First Period
The initial growth phase of berries spans from the blooming of the vines until around 60 days after that. The first berries are formed within this period, and seed embryos are produced. Every few weeks, there is rapid cell division, resulting in the enlargement of the berry and determining its size. Additionally, the berry’s volume increases during this initial growth phase. Meanwhile, various solutes gather within the berry, with the most prevalent ones being Taric acids and malic acids. These acids play a crucial role in imparting acidity to the wine and greatly contribute to its quality. They begin developing quite early in the process, while other acids accumulate throughout the growth period. This accumulation is significant as these acids are involved in browning reactions, affecting both the color of the grape and the resulting wine. Furthermore, these acids serve as precursors to volatile compounds that ultimately influence the wine’s aroma and overall drinking experience.
Tannins are a vital component of wine, particularly red wine, and are responsible for its bitter and astringent taste. These compounds also contribute to the color stability of red wine and play a significant role in the overall flavor profile, along with minerals, amino acids, micronutrients, and aroma compounds, which are present during the initial 60-day period of berry growth.
The acidity of wine can have an impact on various aspects, even before the winemaking process begins. Following the initial 60 days, the growth rate stabilizes before entering the second growth phase. It is during this period that the berry undergoes changes, becoming softer, changing color, and transforming into a recognizable grape. Typically, the berry doubles in size, resulting in a decrease in solute concentration. This reduction in solute concentration is what makes more mature grapes less acidic. The dilution of compounds produced during the first growth phase depends on the specific type of berry. For instance, malic acid content significantly decreases in warmer climates compared to regions with superior conditions. Oxidation leads to a decline in tannins due to exposure to oxygen in the air. Similarly, other notable aroma compounds generated during the initial growth period decrease as the fruit ripens.
The Second Growth Period
During the second stage of grape development, the concentration of distinct sugar compounds, particularly glucose and fructose, noticeably increases. Glucose is a simple sugar, while fructose is a fruit sugar. This rise is a result of a biochemical change that happens as the fruit matures, a process known as veraison. As the berries ripen, sugar becomes abundant throughout the fruit. Sucrose, which is produced through photosynthesis, is later broken down into glucose and fructose. This process is common in many fruits.
The Job Of a Winemaker
The winemaker’s role involves closely monitoring the entire procedure to ensure the optimal outcome for wine production. This task is far from simple, as the winemaker’s expertise extends beyond grape cultivation alone. Understanding factors such as sugar levels, climate conditions, weather patterns, grape varieties, and even the number of leaves surrounding the vines are essential. This extensive knowledge enables them to harvest the grapes, crush them, and ferment the mixture to create a delightful wine.
Seed In the Middle
Ultimately, these organisms are botanical entities; it is crucial to focus on their cultivation techniques and the subsequent wine production. The primary purpose of a plant is to generate fruits that can yield more plants. The presence of berries stems from the fact that they contain seeds within. The utmost priority for the plant is to disperse these seeds. Consequently, during the initial growth phase, the seeds are astringent and unpalatable for animals, thereby deterring consumption. However, the seeds become ripe during the subsequent growth period, and the berries become exceptionally delicious. I have personally tasted berries directly from the vine, particularly finding Cabernet berries to be exceptionally sweet and sugary, surpassing the larger, plump ones available in stores. Now you understand why this is so. The flavor of the larger berries is not as concentrated. Nevertheless, due to their small size and enticing flavor, birds are inclined to pluck them from the vine and subsequently excrete the seeds, facilitating the growth of new plants. This is the vine’s purpose. Naturally, wineries prevent this occurrence as they aim to harvest the berries before they reach that stage in order to produce wine.