Red Wine Production (Part 1)
By Murli Dharmadhikari
The basic procedure of red wine
production is outlined in the diagram.
An important point in making red
wine is, that the fermenting must
consists of juice skins and seeds. As
a result, the composition of red wine
is determined by the constituents
extracted from skins and seeds in
addition to those present in the juice.
Red Wine Styles
Red wines are made into a variety
of styles. The stylistic differences
are based on differences in wine
characteristics such as grape variety,
color, flavor, body, mouthfeel, and
aging potential. The styles range
from simple, fruity, fresh, lightcolored
blushes and rosés to
complex, full-bodied, rich and darkred,
with long aging potential. Many
factors such as a variety, soil,
climate, growing conditions, and
viticultural practices influence the
fruit composition, and therefore, the
style of wine that can be produced.
In addition to fruit composition,
winemaking techniques also play an
important role in determining the
Red Wine Production
Heat and Press
Fermentor MLF (optional)
Whole cluster in
(all or part)
Stabilize and Clarify
Fine and/or Filter
Vineyard and Vintage View 15(2)
to have all these parameters in an
ideal balance. However, in practice
this can be difficult to achieve since
these parameters are influenced by
Generally the fruit is harvested
based on sugar (ºBrix), titratable
acidity, and pH. It should be noted
that for making red wine, following
only these harvest criteria is not sufficient.
Skin constituents such as
color, tannins, and flavor strongly
influence red wine character and,
therefore, their level should also be
evaluated when making harvest decisions.
Because the skin is
fermented with the juice, the skin
condition (freedom from rot) and the
proportion of skins to juice (depending
on berry size) are also important
Generally, the accumulation of
some components such as color and
tannin closely follows the accumulation
of sugars. But this may not
necessarily hold true for the flavor.
Aroma development may follow a
different pattern. In such a case, sugar
measurements to determine harvest
may not yield the best result. A good
understanding of the fruit composi-
Fig. 1. Destemming and crushing grapes.
Note operator wearing protective
safety glasses and ear plugs.
Many varieties are available for
red wine production. The wines are
usually produced as varietals, or as
blends containing several varieties.
A list of commonly used red wine
varieties is given in Table 1.
Varieties from the Vinifera group
are most widely used for
winemaking. In regions where
Vinifera grapes are not grown,
French hybrids, Labrusca, and other
varieties are often used.
Among the Vinifera group,
Cabernet Sauvignon alone, or in
combination with Merlot and/or
Cabernet Franc is used in premium
red wine production. Pinot noir, the
famous grape of Burgundy, makes
excellent red wine. When grown in
other parts of the world, the wine
does not always attain the same level
of quality as found in Burgundy.
Zinfandel, though popular for
blush wine, can also make dark, fullbodied,
and flavorful red wine.
Syrah, the popular grape of Rhône
and Australia makes fruity wines
with softer tannins.
Concord is the leading red wine
variety among American grapes.
Wines from these grapes have a
strong flavor, which is often referred
to as a “foxy” aroma. Another American
red wine grape, Cynthiana/
Norton, does not have the foxy
aroma and can make full-bodied,
dark red wines....
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