Wine is the fermented alcoholic
beverage made from grape juice. Types of wine. This depends on a number of variables,
color, relative sweetness, alcohol content, grape variety, the grape's region &
presence of carbon dioxide. Wines may be red or white or almost any color in between. In
the production of red wines, the red pigments are extracted from the skins of the grapes
by allowing the fermentation to take place in contact with the skins. When white wines are
made from dark grapes, the skins are separated before fermentation. The terms "dry
& sweet" refer to the relative sweetness or sugar content in the wine. Table
wines usually contain less than 14% alcohol by volume, and desert wines contain over 14%
and may be as high as 20% alcohol by volume. The higher alcohol content of desert wines is
obtained by fortification, which is obtained by the addition of brandy. Sparkling wines
such as champagne and sparkling burgundy contain carbon dioxide.
Production: Grapes are harvested when they have reached the desired sugar and acid
content. The grapes go through a crusher-stemmer, which crushes the grapes but not the
seeds, and removes the stems. The juice that is extracted at this time is called must. The
must, still containing seeds and skins are pumped to fermentation tanks. A yeast starter
may then be added at this stage. In the production of white wines, the juice is separated
from the skins and seeds at an early stage of fermentation. The residue will be pressed
and extracted for a low quality wine. The fermentation tanks are cooled to maintain and
keep a specific temperature of the wine.
After the initial fermentation is over, the wine is transferred to storage tanks for
the completion of the fermentation, clarification, aging & stabilization. The sediment
of yeast and other insolubles is called "lees". The wine is "racked"
(drawn off) from the lees to eliminate the picking up of undesirable flavors from the
lees. The "aging" process is continued. Wines are often chilled to precipitate
excess "cream-of-tarter (the acid tartarate from the grape).
Champagne is made by allowing a secondary fermentation to occur with a special type of
yeast, either in the bottle or in bulk. The carbon dioxide, CO2 of the sparkling wines is
produced by yeast fermentation. Some Sherry wines of California obtain their
characteristic flavor and aroma by a heating process, over a period of time.
Spoilage: Wines, especially the sweet wines, are susceptible to spoilage by wild yeasts
and bacteria. Growth of wild yeasts may occur in unpasteurized bottle wines. It is very
important to control that no air comes in contact with the wine. Pasteurization is done
for about 1 minute at 145F. For kosher wines they will pasteurize at higher temperatures
up to boiling at some wineries.
There are many different methods used in making wines. Each different country and its
different regions have their special methods. Each different grape has its variations.
There are unlimited differences in making wines with no two will end with the identical
result. The amount of sun that the grape is exposed to will also have an affect. Religious
people of the Jewish faith must make all kosher wines strictly without the involvement of
non religious Jews. The exclusive involvement of the religious Jewish worker begins at the
mechanized grape picking in some wineries and end after the bottling. Other wineries will
begin only at the dumping into the crusher/destemmer. After wine has been cooked the
involvement of non-religious Jewish people is not usually a concern to most people.
Therefore most kosher wines are cooked before bottling.