How Wine Is Made: From Grapes to Your Glass

It seems so simple: remove the capsule (foil) from your favorite bottle’s neck, twist the wine key into the cork, hear that muffled pop after a few simple moves and—voila! You’re ready to decant (or just pour!) one of earth’s most wonderful elixirs.

Creating that perfect bottle of wine, however, is quite a labor of love. The finished product will vary from winemaker to winemaker, but behind the passion the process is very much the same. So sit back, relax with a glass of vino and learn how wine is made.

Winemaking in 6 Steps

1. Planting

Whatever the varietal, great wine starts with high-quality grape vines. What gives those carefully selected plants their character (and why one cabernet sauvignon grape tastes slightly different from another) is terroir. More than just the land, terroir is all the environmental factors that add nuanced flavors to grapes. Winemakers work in sync with the terroir to plant the right vines in the right spot.

2. Growing and Nurturing

Gnarled grapevines may look sturdy, but they can be delicate souls, too, since they’re subject to unpredictable Mother Nature’s whims. An early cold snap, a blistering summer, too much rain or devastating diseases can ruin an entire vintage. A winemaker spends much time working with (or around) weather and keeping an eye to the vines’ health and well-being. Careful pruning is key to control growth, ensure the grapes’ quality and protect against pesky infections.

3. Harvesting

Simply put: harvesting is picking grapes! In most regions, this generally happens in September, but it’s the winemaker’s call to pick when the grapes are perfect. Years of experience (and nibbling a few grapes) tell the winemaker when the Brix (sugar content), pH and acidity are just right. Harvesting is done by hand or by machine depending on the size of the vineyard and targeted wine production.

4. Crushing, Destemming and Pressing

This is where the fruit is gently squeezed to free the skins from the juices and remove the stems. It’s almost universally done by machine but always with great care to ensure the grape doesn’t burst too early in the process. Just-the-right squeeze also means tannins in the skins and seeds aren’t exposed before their time. The winemaker decides how long before the juice is separated from the skins—not at all or a short period of time for whites, just enough to leave a slight color for blushes and roses and longer for reds.

5. Fermenting and Aging

This complex process varies from grape to grape and can involve more than one step, too. Depending on the varietal, yeasts are added to turn sugars into alcohol. The process is stopped when the winemaker achieves the right sugar and alcohol level for each type of wine. Aging also depends on the end product, but is always under airlock to protect the wine from oxidation. Some wines are aged in wood (like French or American oak) or steel, anywhere from a few months to years. You may also find some wines that finish aging in the bottle. The skilled winemaker has mastered these steps so wines develop the right nose and flavors that you expect.

6. Filtering and Bottling

Almost there! Here the winemaker clarifies the wine by removing any wayward particles (which can be incredibly small but impact the final product). When that’s done, it’s poetry-in-motion as bottles are machine-filled, sealed with a cork and then wrapped with a capsule for a tight seal to keep the wine fresh.

Wait—there’s really a step 7: drinking! Take the time to give each wine its due with a deep inhale to detect aromas (give reds a quick swirl first to release the nuances) and then a slow, luxurious taste. Swish the first sip and note different flavors the winemaker so carefully nurtured. Remember to use appropriate glassware, like our beautiful Luigi Bormioli Supremo collection. This is a fantastic example of how we enhance the taste the winemaker intended with glasses designed to maximize your experience:

  • They’re carefully made in conjunction with the prestigious Italian Centro Studi Assaggiatori, international specialists in food and beverage sensory analysis.
  • The sensually shaped stemware shines with our proprietary SON.hyx to strengthen while keeping the glass brilliant. SON.hyx also keeps them dishwasher-safe and ultra-clear through 4,000 dishwasher cycles. Like all Luigi Bormioli products made with SON.hyx, they carry a 25-Year Guarantee that guards against chipping on the rim or foot, as well as discoloration or cloudiness resulting from washing. (Did we mention they’re lead-free and eco-friendly, too?)
  • Last, but most certainly not least, our proprietary TITANIUM Reinforced stem keeps that critical part of our Supremo glasses strong and durable. This advanced treatment permanently enhances hardness and resists abrasions for a superior stem.

Now that you know how your favorite vino was crafted and the best glasses for enjoying, may we say—salute!

At Luigi Bormioli, we take pride in our Italian-crafted, superior quality glassware. Your glasses, created using our proprietary SON.hyx ultra-clear formula, will retain their brilliant and transparent appearance and are backed by our 25-year guarantee that guards against chipping on the rim or foot, as well as discoloration or cloudiness resulting from washing. You will enjoy their beauty, durability and strength for many years to come. We aim to enhance your tabletop lifestyle and entertaining experience with a glass for every occasion. When the moment matters, the glass matters.

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