Among all the varieties of wine that exist, red wine is undoubtedly the most popular and popular. At the same time, it is the preferred drink in gala events, conferences, networking and endless celebrations.
Red wine has been with us for centuries and, nevertheless, we do not know much about it and we do not know how it is made . If you have ever been asked this question, or on the contrary, it is the first time you have asked it, at Bodegas Altanza we will answer your questions.
How to make a red wine
The development of this thousand-year-old drink has been sophisticated and refined to reach current quality levels, which is why there are currently several phases that this product has to go through before it is marketed and can be served at any celebration.
It should be noted that each type of wine has its own process. Thus, how a rosé wine is made has nothing to do with the phases that red wine has to follow to become the drink we know.
The stages that red wine has to go through are:
Red wine harvest
The first phase and through which all types of wine go. The harvest is understood as the selection and collection of the ripe grape for its later fermentation and aging that will turn it into wine.
When evaluating whether or not a grape is ready for harvest, its sugar levels are checked as this will determine the level of fermentation and the level of alcohol in the resulting wine.
In Spain, traditionally, the harvest takes place during the months of August until October , when the grape reaches all its splendor.
This process includes the separation of the grape with the rest of the bunch, as well as the branches and leaves that accompany it, since the latter provide a bitter flavor and aroma to the must during its maceration.
Destemming is usually done when you want to develop a young and very fruity wine, something not very common in a red wine.
Previously this process was done manually, which raised their production costs. Currently, it is a machine that is in charge of this laborious process: the grapes go through a crusher or treadmill that has the job of breaking the skin of the grape, which is also known as skin.
In this way, a large part of the interior of the grape or must is extracted, which will be of great help for the maceration. The crushing doesn’t have to be too intense or it will split the seeds which will give the mixture a bitter taste.
Maceration and alcoholic fermentation
This is one of the decisive moments when making red wine. In a room prepared for it and with a constant temperature not exceeding 29 degrees, the wine is left to macerate and ferment.
The duration of the process will depend on the type of wine we want to develop, but in general this period will last between 10 and 14 days in which the must acquires its characteristic color and its final structure from the elements released by the skins, while the sugar is fermented and converted into alcohol.
Once the fermentation has finished, we proceed to the pressing to obtain the liquid, which will be what later becomes wine.
As its name indicates, it is a second fermentation that aims to reduce the acidity of the wine obtained and make it more suitable for consumption. This process takes about 15 to 21 days.
Red wine aging
Also known as aging, it is the most well-known stage of the wine, when it enters the barrel to give it body and structure .
How long we keep it there will depend on what type of wine we want to obtain . And, contrary to what many people think, a greater aging does not necessarily equate to an improvement in quality, it will all depend on the type of grape and the characteristics of the wine itself.
The barrels are usually made of oak wood due to its hardness, permeability and porosity. In fact, gas exchange and micro-oxygenation help wine evolve and obtain its defining characteristics, such as aromatic notes.
Racking and clarification
In the middle of aging, the racking must be carried out, which is nothing more than passing the wine through different containers to gradually eliminate its sediments. For a more precise finish, organic substances are used and carry away impurities and leave the wine completely liquid.
Red wine bottling
It is a second aging that will give the final characteristics to all good red wine such as Altanza Gran Reserva . At this time the wine matures in a reducing atmosphere in which it will consume the oxygen that is introduced before closing the bottle with the cork.
This hermitic environment stabilizes its aromas and flavors obtained in the barrel.
Depending on the time spent in the barrel and bottle, we will talk about a crianza, reserva or gran reserva wine.