Learn About Wine in 5 Minutes
May 30, 2020

Wine

By allin5minutes

Wine is an alcoholic beverage that’s made from partial or full fermentation of grapes. It can be made in a variety of flavors having different extents of “dryness” or sweetness, alcoholic strength and quality.

The History of Wine

Wine can be traced back to Georgia as early as 6000 BC, and from there it spread to Persia and Sicily. There is also evidence of a similar alcoholic drink in China circa 7000 BC.

The Roman wines that emerged from Italy, Spain, and France became the most desirable. Until today, Italy is the largest producer and exporter of wine in the world, followed by France and Spain. Wine production in the USA was introduced in the mid-nineteenth century. New York and California are currently the largest winemakers in the USA.

Styles of Wine

Each wine style has its unique characteristics. Knowing which wine will be great with your meal will certainly impress others and it will make the meal more enjoyable.

  • White wine. White wine is mostly made from white grapes though red or black grapes can also be used. Based on the inputs, it will give bright, creamy, or savory flavor character. It can be paired with soft cheese, meat, salads, or seafood. 
  • Red wine. Red wine is made in a similar way like white wine with the difference in the addition of grape skins, and seeds during fermentation. Varying concentration levels result from different fermenting periods. The food pairing of red wine depends on concentration levels. For instance, light-bodied red wine does well with grilled chicken or vegetables while medium and full-bodied red wine pairs properly with steaks, and roasted meat.
  • Rosé wine. Rosé wine is produced from black or red grapes within a short fermentation period of about 12-36 hours. It has a pink rose color, and the taste ranges from dry to sweet. You can also make this style by mixing red and white wine. It pairs well with dishes like poultry or fish.
  • Sparkling wine. Sparkling wine has significant levels of carbon dioxide in it, making it fizzy. It is typically used in celebrations. Sparkling wine pairs great with salty starters, or fish.
  • Dessert and Fortified wine. Dessert wines are sweet and have a lower degree of alcohol. They can be fortified by adding other spirits to increase alcohol concentration. These wines are great with all sorts of sweets and cakes.
  • Aromatic wine. Aromatic wine is a white wine that has a notable floral or fruity aroma. They frequently have lots of sugar to counter their bitterness and acidity. It’s mostly served with desserts after a meal.

Production of Wine

Winemaking takes place in five similar stages, but different manufacturers can change them a bit to make their products unique.

  • Harvesting. First, the grapes are harvested at the appropriate time, preferably when ripe. This can be done either manually or by the use of machines. The grapes are then taken to the winery where they are sorted to ensure only proper grapes are chosen for the next step.
  • Crushing and pressing. The grape clusters are then crushed and pressed to form what’s called must. Red and white wine productions are similar up to this stage. Afterward, they differ as white wines require the complete extraction of color pigment and removal of skins and seeds.
  • Fermentation. Fermentation involves using yeast to convert all the sugar in the must to alcohol and it can take 10-30 days. The resulting alcohol level will vary between regions; 10% in cold climates and 15% in warm ones is considered normal. Sweet wine is obtained from partial fermentation of the must.
  • Clarification. The clarification process involves siphoning the wine to leave precipitates at the bottom of the barrel. It can also include filtering and fining.
  • Aging and bottling. Aging and bottling is the final process that may differ from one winemaker to another. Some choose to provide additional aging for their wine. Others bottle them immediately after clarification. 

Health Benefits of Wine

Wine contains powerful antioxidants, and drinking it in moderation can have some health benefits.

  • Red wine is rich with antioxidants and it is shown to minimize the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Wine contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, hence, it can combat inflammation. Chronic inflammation can accelerate the risk of heart disease, and some cancers.
  • The high level of antioxidants in red wine have been shown to reduce high blood pressure, heart problems, and metabolic diseases.
  • Wine can also be beneficial to mental health. Moderate drinking of wine can reduce the risk of depression.

While drinking wine in moderation can have its benefits, excessive consumption can be harmful. The risks involved in taking excess wine are liver damage, heart problems, physical injuries, and more.

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