The cultivation of grapes and the production of wine has been around since 3000BC and may have started earlier. The major civilizations all over the globe developed the method of converting the juice of grapes into wine. Naturally, man required a dose of alcohol to help ease the days. Producing wine and growing grapes is a great pastime that can be turned into an enterprise. I’ve visited numerous wineries and noticed that a large majority of the owners have a second job wine background.
When planning your vineyard, it is important to pick between two grape varieties, based on the climate you reside in. It is the European grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most popular, but a variety of hybrids have been created in recent times to enable grapevines to flourish in a variety of zones.
The grapes grown throughout California, Oregon, and Washington are most likely to be European varieties. In regions with shorter growing seasons, there are only varietals of the hybrid grape. The ability to withstand winter conditions and resistance to diseases has been bred into hybrid grapes. It is also important to consider the wines that you like since you’ll be the principal customer at the very beginning.
Grapes must be planted for three years prior to when you can pick your first crop as the vines have to be cultivated on a trellis in order to optimize the conditions for growth. The most important thing to remember is providing your grapevines with the right place to grow with full sunlight and soil with a low nutrient content. If the soil is deficient in nutrients, can cause stress to the vine which results in the production of tiny grapes. Winemakers rely on grapes that are small because the skin of grapes is full of flavors and color which is essential for wine.
The fall season is always a wonderful time to be a wine lover. It’s known by the name of “the crush”. The grapes are harvested and crushed to get rid of the juice. It is possible to stomp on the grapes using your feet in a barrel that is large as our ancestors used to do or opt for the more modern method and the result is to squeeze the most of the juice that you could. Put the mush in the fridge for around a week so that the flavor of the skins to be absorbed in the juice. You are now ready to take the juice out of the mush, and ferment the grapes. Add yeast and give it one week for the fermentation. Then comes the process of ageing. The wine should be aged for a few months to several years in stainless steel barrels, to provide it with a pleasant taste. After the wine has become clear it can be bottled and then it should be aged for a few more months. If it’s a strong red, such as Cabernet, it could be aged for a long time.
If it’s time to crack open the first bottle specially made by you, your friends and family members will be amazed and impressed by your newly acquired skills. If that sounds like something you would enjoy I highly recommend you begin your training as winemaker and grower.