WINE PRODUCING IN GREECE
Greece is one of the oldest and most popular wine-producing regions in the world. The earliest evidence of Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago where wine was produced on a household or communal basis. In ancient times, as trade in wine became extensive, it was transported from end to end of the Mediterranean; Greek wine had especially high prestige in Italy under the Roman Empire. In the medieval period, wines exported from Crete, Monemvasia and other Greek ports fetched high prices in northern Europe.
How is wine made?
In theory, wine is made by growing grapes, picking and crushing them, allowing their juices to ferment, and putting the resulting liquid into bottles.
However, for wineries, it’s a bit more complex than this.
Vintners have important decisions to make during every step in the wine making process. These decisions can either favorably or unfavorably effect their final product.
Choosing a Vineyard
The location chosen to plant wine grapes is perhaps the most important decision a wine maker has. Climate, weather, topography, and soil composition must be perfect for the vines to be able to produce the grapes and for the grapes to ripen properly.
Deciding When To Harvest
The next most important factor in wine making is choosing the right time to harvest (pick) the grapes.
The grapes must be harvested in peak condition for their particular variety. Several factors will be considered including sugar levels, color and taste.
It’s also important for grapes to be picked carefully so they’re not bruised or split. Both hand picking and machine harvesting procedures are both used today. Hand picking is the method preferred by many fine wine producers and employed almost exclusively in France.
Preparation And Crushing
Next, the grapes will be separated from their stems and leaves, usually by a special machine. If left in contact with the grapes too long after harvest, stems give off a bitter unwanted taste.
It is at this point that red grapes will be treated differently than white grapes.
White wine grapes are crushed and their juice is separated from their skins.
Most red wines skins will remain with their juice to impart their color, tannins, and flavor to the wine.
This is the essential difference between red wines and white wines. Red wines owe their color and complex textures and flavors to the time their juice remains in contact with their skins.
Fermentation is the process that converts a grape’s naturally occurring sugar to alcohol. All wine grapes have some wild yeast present already, but these yeast strains are very unpredictable.
Most wine makers today add specialized cultured yeasts to produce more predictable results. Sugars may also be added.
Fermentation can take place in several types of vessels, depending upon the type of wine being made.
Most often, stainless steel vats are used for white wines and oak barrels, American or French, are used for red wines. The type of fermentation vat or barrel chosen will also give the wine some of it’s flavor.
The proper length of time and correct temperature are very important in fermentation.
At some time during the fermentation process or after fermentation, red wine skins are separated from their juice.
Racking – Fining – Filtering
Once the appropriate alcohol content has been reached and fermentation is complete, the yeast and any other particles left behind must be separated from the finished product.
This is done by racking (pumping just the liquid out of the fermenting vat or container, fining (further clarifying the liquid), and filtering if necessary.
Bottling and Aging
The final step in the wine making process is putting the finished liquid into its bottle and labeling it. Some wines will be ready to drink right away. Some (particularly reds) will be aged for a time before they are released to the public.
Please visit www.greekwine.gr for more details about Greek wine.