How Is Wine Made How Is Red Wine Made

How Is Wine Made? How Is Red Wine Made?

To start with, how is wine made?

For the most part,  wine is made in these steps: pick the grapes, crush the grapes, ferment the grapes into wine, age the wine, and bottle the wine.

The specific steps in the harvesting process will differ in time, technique, and technology depending on the grape, the region, and the type of wine that a winemaker wishes to produce. 

For more specific information, keep reading.

How Is Wine Made

Pick The Grapes

Getting fruit from the vineyard to the winery is the first step in the winemaking process. But you might be surprised to learn that there are more choices to be made here. The ideal picking date must be selected first and foremost. To gauge acidity and sugar levels, winemakers taste fruit from their vineyards on a regular basis throughout the year. Teams are organized and sent into the vines to gather the fruit when it is deemed appropriate.

There are two ways to harvest: manually or mechanically. Although the former requires more time, it permits more quality assurance and (if desired) sorting in the vineyard. The latter is typically done on larger estates with more terrain to cover.

Crush The Grapes

Depending on whether red, white, rosé, orange, or blended wines are being made, this step may be slightly different. First and foremost, if the winemaker so chooses, the grape berries are separated from their stems using a destemmer. The next step is crushing, which separates the juice from the grape skins quickly for white wines. Fruit is typically crushed and pressed for white wines. After being squeezed, the juice is transferred to a tank to settle before being racked off of the sediment.

The fruit is crushed (with or without stems) and macerated on the skins for a predetermined amount of time for red and orange wines. The color and tannin structure of red and orange wines are ultimately a result of this.

Fermenting Grapes Into Wine

The next task is fermentation, which will be the process that determines the flavor. A variety of processes are used to accompany the various types of grapes as the mixture’s sugar transforms into alcohol. Simple yeast addition and long-term fermentation are the most natural processes. When red wines ferment, more carbon dioxide is produced than when white wines do, and they typically do so at higher temperatures. Typically, the red wine process goes on until all the sugar has been metabolized into alcohol, yielding a dry wine. White wines can also be fermented until dry, but sweet wine varieties stop before all the sugar is metabolized, producing a sweeter and less alcoholic beverage. In order to strengthen rich smoothness, grapes may even be pressed after fermentation. See more about What Is Wine Fermentation: How Does It Work

Age The Wine

The type of wine one wants to make will again determine the many options available to winemakers in this step. Flavors in a wine become more intense due to several of these winemaking choices:

  • aging over a long period of time vs. several months
  • vs. stainless steel aging oak
  • Aging in new oak vs. ‘neutral’ or used barrels
  • vs. aging in barrels made of American oak French oak barrels
  • aging in various degrees of “toasted” barrels (i.e. charred by fire)

Bottle The Wine

The unwanted particles that are still present in the wine are removed during filtration before it is bottled. The wine is now ready to be bottled after this. which nowadays is usually carried out mechanically. The winemakers will add a small amount of nitrogen or carbon dioxide to the wine bottle after it has been gradually filled to the top in order to displace any oxygen that may have remained above the fill line. It has a cork and is ready for sale!

How Is Wine Made How Is Red Wine Made
How Is Wine Made? How Is Red Wine Made?

How Is Red Wine Made

Harvest & Crushing

Several weeks after the initial green color of the grapes has changed to a dark red or blue-black hue during a process known as veraison, red wine grapes are ready to be harvested in late summer to early fall.

The grape clusters or bunches are removed from the vines by vineyard workers. Either a person or a self-propelled machine shakes or slaps the grapes off their stems and collects the individual berries and juice.

When the grapes are brought to the winery, winemakers can also sort through them to remove any leaves, debris, or raisins that are moldy. Clusters are then put through a destemmer/crusher, which separates the whole grape berries from the stems and may squeeze them slightly to release the juice. Prior to pressing, any juice produced at these stages is referred to as free run. Grapes picked by machines are already fermentable.


Things begin to become more scientific at this point. The natural sugars in the crushed grapes are then consumed by yeast, which produces alcohol, in fermentation tanks. Most importantly for red wine production, the skins are left on, adding the colour, flavours and textures we associate with red wines. Sometimes during this process, grapes are stirred using methods known as punching down or pumping over. Grapes are fermented for a minimum of five days at a high temperature between 20 and 32 degrees for red wine.


The grapes are ready to be pressed five to seven days after they have finished fermenting. While some smaller wineries may choose to press the grapes by hand to extract the juice and separate the pulps and skins, most wineries will use machines to do so.


This is a much more significant stage than it is for white, rose, and some sparkling wines, and for many people, the most exciting part of the production of red wine. Wines gain complexity during maturation, mostly as a result of contact with oak. Most often, large oak vats, oak barrels, or stainless steel tanks are used to age wines. Red wines can age for anywhere between a few months and a few years before being bottled. More expensive wines will typically age longer in barrels made of better oak.


The process of blending is an important step in winemaking that is frequently disregarded. For winemakers to establish themselves and produce distinctive, flawlessly balanced wines, this is a crucial stage. For instance, the majority of red Bordeaux wines are blends of the grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with a few local varieties thrown in occasionally. Many of the bottles we sell at Virgin Wines are special blends that we’ve created.


Many winemakers opt to filter red wines before bottling them when they are ready. More sediment is eliminated through a coarse filtration. Almost all of the remaining yeast and microbes that could later cause the wine to spoil are removed by a sterile filtration.

Before a wine is bottled, sulfur dioxide levels are frequently finalized. Since the beginning of time, when the most sophisticated packaging materials were gourds, goatskins, and clay jars, this process has undergone the most change. Prior to being filled with wine, corked, and labeled, empty bottles are emptied of oxygen.


That’s all there is to it, isn’t it? Pick, stomp, age. Well, sort of. There are a lot more subtleties to vinification than one might initially think, despite the fact that understanding the process of making wine is fairly simple. The choices made during harvest, during fermentation, during vinification, during aging, and during bottling all have a significant impact on how a wine turns out.

Although many winemakers hold the belief that great wine is first produced in the vineyard by growing high-quality grapes with great care, what happens in the cellar is equally as significant. We have described the entire process of making wine, from selecting the grapes to bottling the finished product.

Many thanks for reading.

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