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A simple guide to wine

Updated: May 11, 2020

Wine is a well known alcoholic beverage, loved by many, but understood by a few. Wine is complex, exciting and completely mind boggling.

In a nutshell, it is fermented grape juice with the presence of yeasts. These grapes are freshly picked from the vines and I really shouldn't make it much more technical than this, but here goes, let's do it anyway.

Remember the original arcade game 'Pac-man'? Making wine is exactly like the game! Pac-man, if you remember (or maybe are too young to remember) went around eating the small pellets.

This is how I explain how wine is made. Hear me out....

To create wine, you need;

- Yeast = Pac-man

- Sugar from the grape juice = Pellets

So the yeast (sorry I mean Pac-man) eats the sugar (I mean the pellets) and a byproduct of this is alcohol, carbon dioxide and a little bit of heat.

Now, if you are making still wine then you will just let the carbon dioxide leave into the atmosphere. If you want sparkling wine, then you will trap the carbon dioxide as this will create the lovely bubbles.

There are over 50 wine producing countries across the world, but the most common ones to look out for are: France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Spain, Portugal, USA, Canada, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and many many more.

Each of these countries have their own local grape varieties along with the international grape varieties.

There are 3 broad types of wine, but of course these can be made in very diverse ways.

Still Wine - This is the majority of wine that we would drink of a day to day, these are typically between 11 - 14% abv and can be labelled from the variety of grape that made the wine or the region it was made in. This can be quite tricky as consumers don't always know what variety is permitted in what region... this is where Fronisi can assist you!

Sparkling wine - The bubbly wine, normally drank to celebrate occasions, but can offer much more than that. As you see in the image above, carbon dioxide is released during fermentation of the grapes, to create sparkling wine, you are trapping the CO2 to create the bubbles. Popular sparkling wine wines are: Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Sekt and English sparkling wine is creating a huge impact into the area of wine due the onset of global warmer and the summertime providing exceptional conditions.

Fortified wine - These are wines with extra alcohol added to them. Typically they range from 15 - 22% abv. Common fortified wines are Sherry and Port. Port is created by stopping fermentation early by adding spirit (yeast can only stay alive up until approx 15% abv, then it will die off), this means that the liquid has a large amount of residual sugar and therefore, Port is always made sweet. Sherry, on the other hand, can be made in many ways, including dry or sweet.

In addition to the types of wine, there are 3 (4) main styles of wine

White - These are typically made from white grapes (although can be made from black grapes)

Red - The must be made using black grapes

Rose - The can be made by blending white and red wine together, or by removing the black grape skin early on in the fermentation, thus left with a more fruity wine

That's as much detail as I'd like to go into now, but look out for more blogs and tasting event which will go into more details on the whole journey from Vine to Wine, along with tasting some exceptional wines.!

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