The 5 stage Process for Red Winemaking
Note:The following stages explain the process only and do not go into details of the adding of fermentation aids, nutrients, sulphur dioxide, acids or enzymes. These are dealt with separately.
Step 1 is to prepare the grape must.
Crushing, Destemming and preparing grapes: Small quantities of grapes can be prepared by hand, but for larger quantities you will require a Crusher, or a Crusher/destemmer. These can be obtained in manual and electric versions. The machine is placed and supported over a larger open polyethelyne plastic container. If you are using only a crusher without a destemmer it is a good idea to place a layer of chicken wire over the receiving container so that a lot of the stems can stopped from going into the container. It is best to avoid even small fragments of stems from entering the must as these can increase the astringency and bitterness of the finished wine. Also avoid macerating the seeds as wel
Step 2 is the primary fermentation of the grapes.
This is done in the open container (called primary fermentation). Primary fermenters can consist of a large open polyethelene container where the grape must can undergo an initial primary ferment. It should be easily accessible as you will need to push down the pomace to help extract as much juice as possible from the skins (depending on wine style)
Step 3 is to press and discard the pomace and move the juice to a secondary fermenter.
This is achieved using a grape press to extract the free flowing juice. This juice is then moved into a secondary fermenter with is fitted with an airlock to complete the fermentation process. Ideal secondary fermenters can be either food grade polyethelene, stainless steel or glass. They should seal securely and water should always be present in the airlock to allow the gas from fermentation to release, without letting air back into the fermenter.
Step 4 is to allow the wine to finish fermenting
Once the wine has finished fermenting, the clearing and maturing process begins. The wine is cleared until a sediment forms and then should be racked off the sediment into another fermenter (or moved back into the same fermenter). The racking process to remove the wine from the sediment deposit to prevent this from tainting the flavour of the wine.. Racking involves the removal of wine from the sediment..often using a racking cane.
Step 5 is to bottle and mature the wine.
The wine can be further enhanced by maturing in a suitable oak barrel for a period of time prior to bottling. The bottling and corking procedure should be undertaken with care so the wine has the best opportunity to mature in the bottles. Poor corking and bottling techniques can lead to cork damage which could eventually cause the wine to oxidise. Care should be taken with sterilisation of bottles and by using a good quality corking tool so that damage does not happen to the cork on insertion. Today there are some excellent alternatives to using wine corks. The Novatwist screw top wine bottle closure and the Zork stopper are excellent easy to use alternatives to wine corks and can be applied by hand.