The Art of wine appreciation
Oregon Wine 101
Explore behind the scenes of what it takes to make truly great wine at Abiqua Wind.
How Grapes Become Wine
A Living Creation
To love wine is to love the process. Boiled down to its most basic parts, wine is simply made from grapes, oxygen, and time. Like many things in nature, grapes are covered with natural yeasts. Directly after picking, our grapes are crushed in a press to allow the natural yeast from the skin and sugars from the juice to mix. Eventually, the yeast will convert the sugar to alcohol, however, the likelihood of producing a drink worthy of the palate requires management at all levels.
Wine is a living creation, like ourselves, it is born then begins its journey to departure – as vinegar. With care, and diligence, wine, again like us, can become a wonderful creation in its golden years. It’s a difficult, but romantic voyage converting sunshine and soil into an elixir known to enhance romance.
The Finest Beverage
Flavor and Complexity
Yeast and their happiness are key to converting that beautiful juice into a fine beverage; they will exhibit displeasure by producing things that don’t smell and taste good. I was talking to one of the big boys, and said “I am not a winemaker, rather a manager of yeast” – he wholeheartedly agreed. Happy yeast make happy wine. First, the grapes must contain the components of flavor and complexity that the unsung heroes of the process – yeast – release to our utter delight.
From Grape Juice
In their basic form, white wines are fermented as juice. The grapes are crushed, skins separated from the juice, and the fermentation process begins. With a bit less yeast involved (due to the lack of skins), this is also why white wines typically remain more sweet.
Our red wine grapes are harvested, then de-stemmed (whole cluster being the exception) and fermented with the whole grape. The dark red color and tannins are extracted from the skins during the fermentation process.
After the sugar fermentation, red wines are then pressed (an art in itself) and undergo a secondary fermentation in barrels. The secondary fermentation is called malolactic fermentation, MLF or Malo in wine maker ‘speak’. During this process, a special bacteria converts malic acid to lactic acid, creating a much softer outcome. These wines are stored in barrels for 1-5 years, and exposed to minuscule amounts of oxygen to soften acidity.