How to make white wine

White wine


How to make White wine? Depending on the country or the region, the way of making white wine can be quite different. However, there are some basic big steps that are grossly always followed.

We will see here the basics of this famous question: how to make white wine?

We will focus here on white wine, but you can also discover how to make red wine right here:

So let’s start with the first step:

The grape selection: 

First of all, we must obviously choose the variety that we want to grow, the variety of grapes that we will use. This very first step is very important because it is the choice of grapes that will define the taste of white wine.

There are thousands of grape varieties. The choice may seem difficult at first, but a large majority of grape varieties are not used to make wine anyway, because the wines are less good (too acid or too sweet for example). In France, about 210 variety varieties are authorized, of which only 10 represent 70% of the vines planted.

Once the variety is cultivated, it offers the famous grapes and gives way to the harvest.

Harvest :

champs de vigne

Harvesting simply means harvesting grapes. However, details are to be taken into account:

The date of the harvest is not chosen at random; too soon, the grapes could be too sour and lack of sugar; too late, they could be too sweet and lack the acidity needed for a good wine.

The weather sometimes makes whims; the gel can destroy the vines, a very heavy rain can gorge the grapes of water, not to mention the diseases that can appear because of the climate!

All the grapes do not ripen at the same speed; it is therefore necessary to spend several times in the rows of vines to harvest at the right time.

The harvest is done either by hand or machine. In hand, the selection of grapes will be more careful but obviously longer. While with machines, it will save time and money but it will sort the grapes on a sorting table, not to mention that we damage the vineyard and all the land is not passable by the machines.

Once the harvest is done and the grapes selected, we can finally make our white wine!

How to make white wine

Here are the steps to make white wine:

I. Stripping

In this first step, sometimes necessary but not obligatory, the grapes are separated from the grapes, in order not to add an unpleasant taste to the wine. Unlike red wine that is left macerated skins grapes to give it its red color, the white wine is quickly squeezed to his arrival in the cellar.

II. Pressing

As said before, we press the wine to separate the juice dandruff (skin, bunches, seeds …). We obviously only get the juice.

III. Racking

For this step, we put the juice in the tank. Suspended particles that have not been successfully removed at the time of pressing fall to the bottom of the tank. This allows you to remove them and get a wine for net again.

IV. Alcoholic fermentation in the tank

Yeast is added to the juice, which is mixed with the sugar of the juice, will create the alcohol! Yeasts are naturally present in the grapes, but some winemakers still prefer to add their own yeast, a matter of taste and safety. This stage lasts about ten days. The alcoholic fermentation in vats allows to obtain bright white wines to drink young.

IV. (2) Alcoholic fermentation with barrel aging

A second technique to obtain more powerful white wines to age also exists. Following the alcoholic fermentation, the wine is barreled to trigger a second fermentation; malolactic fermentation. This allows to offer more fatness and roundness to the wine, especially by giving it aromas of butter or brioche bread for example. This breeding can last several months and consists in fact to macerate the wine in the dead yeasts that allowed the alcoholic fermentation. Sometimes we stick (we stir the wine in the barrel with a stick) to put the dead yeasts in suspension.

Vin blanc en élevage

Here one can observe the interior of a barrel in which is raised white wine. We can observe a thin layer (like dust) accumulated at the bottom, it is dead yeasts that brings the famous additional aromas.

V. Assembly, sulphiting, filtering …

Following the creation of the wine, several choices are available to us:

Blend: In this step, we can mix the different grapes that we fermented. This allows to create original wines with new tastes.

Sulfitage: to protect the wine from oxygenation, we can add a little sulfur.

Filtering, collage: in order to make the wine even more limpid, you can either filter the wine or make a collage. A collage is the use of a protein glue (the best known being the egg white) that removes particles in suspension.

VI. Bottling process

We put wine in the bottle. From that moment, you can either put the bottle on sale or continue to raise the wine in the bottle. It is much more common to raise bottled red wines, but it is quite possible to raise white wines as well (white Burgundy wines being a perfect example).

This method explained here is a great guideline for understanding how to make white wine. Each castle will have its own elaboration giving its wine an identity of its own. We can therefore find in some areas additional steps, or even steps in less. Just as the order of certain stages may vary in some castles.

Vin blanc
White wine

In short

Contrary to popular legend, white wine does not come only from white grapes. To produce these wines, there are also red grapes with colorless juice.

This time, we sometimes leave the stalk and pressurize directly the grains, then remove the must (solids, such as skins or pips) before putting in fermentation in vats or barrels. The wine is said to be dry if all of the sugar in the wine is turned into alcohol. If there is sugar left, it is said that it is soft / syrupy.

Once again, these are just very big steps. Depending on the castle or the wine produced, other stages will be added.

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