Wine tours in Greece – Winemaking process
Wine tours in Greece
During our Trigiro wine tours we visit several wineries combining the best way to discover the nature by feet or bike and the extraordinary world of wine.
We visit the wineries and get introduced to the vineyards, the winemaking process, the winery and the wines. We taste different types of wines and combine these with local products like cheese, ham, tomatoes and olives.
We will explain the basic steps of the winemaking process.
Depending on the grape, the region and the kind of wine that a winemaker wishes to produce, the exact steps in the harvesting process will vary in time, technique and technology.
Nevertheless the most wine harvest includes these basic vine-to-wine steps.
1 – Harvest – pick the grapes
Most vineyards will start with white grapes and then move to red varietals. The grapes are collected in bins or lugs and then transported to the crushing pad. This is where the process of turning grapes into juice and then into wine begins.
The grapes are either cut from the vine by human hands with shears or they are removed by a machine.
The grapes are either picked during the day or at night to maximize efficiency, beat the heat and capture grapes at stable sugar levels.
At this point in the process, the grapes are still intact with their stems—along with some leaves and sticks that made their way from the vineyards. These will all be removed in the next step.
2 – Grape crush and selection
No matter how or when the grapes were picked, they all get crushed in some way in the next step. The destemmer is the first winemaking machinery that does exactly what it says, removes the stems from the clusters and lightly crushes the grapes.
Once crushed, the white grapes are transferred into a press, which is another piece of winemaking equipment that is literal to its name. All of the grapes are pressed to extract the juice and leave behind the grape skins. The pure juice is then transferred into tanks where sediment settles to the bottom of the tank. After a settling period, the juice is then “racked”, which means it’s filtered out of the settling tank into another tank to insure all the sediment is gone before fermentation starts.
Red wine grapes are also commonly destemmed and lightly crushed. The difference is that these grapes, along with their skins, go straight into a vat to start fermentation on their skins. This is what imparts the red color into red wine.
3 – Fermentation process
Fermentation is where the sugar converts into alcohol. There are plenty of techniques and technologies used during this process. To keep things simple, this stage mainly includes:
- red and white wines: yeast is added to the vats so that fermentation can take place.
- red wines: carbon dioxide is released during fermentation which causes the grape skins to rise to the surface. Winemakers must pump over the “cap” several times a day to keep the skins in contact with the juice.
- red wines: after fermentation is complete the grapes are pressed.
4 – Aging the wine
Winemakers have lots of choices in this step, and again they all depend on the kind of wine one wants to create. Flavors in a wine become more intense due to several of these winemaking aging processes. The aging process can be months or years, in stainless steel tanques or oak barrels, new or used barrels, french or american oak, etc…
5 – Bottle the wine
When the winemaker feels a wine has reached its full expression in aging, then it starts the bottling process of the wine.
– Some white wines are ready to be bottled after a few months.
– Most dry red wines need 18-24 months of aging before bottling.
After the bottling the bottles stay stored in the winery for several months or years before reaching the market