Wine is made from grapes. A ripe grape is a taut balloon full of sweet juice. On its outside, it is teeming with all kinds of starving little fungi, panting and rolling over each other because they all want the same thing: to tear the grape skins with their vicious little claws and slurp up that delicious sweet juice. If they succeed, they eat their bellies fat and round with sugar and poop it out again as alcohol. This process is called rotting or, more kindly, fermenting. You can therefore compare a ripe grape to a hand grenade: pull out its stalk and, in a bayou of fermenting fungi, the fermentation process erupts. - TEXT ILJA GORT | IMAGE PEXELS.COM
Why do we still drink wine?
The technique of making good wine includes mastering that fermentation process. The later that starts, the better the wine. But crudely harvested grapes are already fermenting in the vineyard and go through it all the way to the wine cellar in the oxcart - every winemaker's nightmare. Grape harvesting at a modern winery therefore resembles a military operation: everything is organised with iron discipline.
During vinification, any delay can be catastrophic for the wine. Nevertheless, the grape bunches are carefully destemmed. The grapes are then transferred to stainless steel fermentation tanks. These are equipped with computer-controlled systems to cool the grapes and thus delay fermentation to give the wine extra flavour, but if necessary, they can also heat the grape mass and make the wine ferment faster.
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