Good things take time, and there’s no doubt when it’s the matter of Wine. You know the saying “Aged like fine wine.”
The question of ‘how much time’ has always surrounded budding winemakers, and the ambiguity of answers out there would mostly keep them guessing. However, there’s one thing that’s pretty clear—the taste of fine wine is born out of sheer patience.
So, if you want to take control over the finicky details of your wine’s profile, be prepared to stock yourself with ample amount of patience. Not to mention if the idea of waiting too long is off-putting for you, there’s a bare minimum time period that you MUST WAIT before your tongue loses its calm.
So, in this article we’ll break down the time taken in some of the major facets of making wine and give our readers an overview of the time required by each process!
Each Wine Grape Produces a Different Taste
It’s not just the process but what’s involved in it like the ingredients or grapes used!
The time taken for making wine depends a lot on what you’re using to make it. It could be the good ol’ grapes or maybe some different fruits? Moreover, to make things easier, these days we have access to a plethora of brands that sell wine ingredients kits.
Using these kits could save you some time in the fermentation process. And that’s because packaged wine juices don’t have skins or pulps in them. So, the concentrated juices clear up much faster and that enables winemakers to bottle the wine relatively sooner.
Although there isn’t a massive difference in the time taken, but if you’re in a hurry, wine ingredients kits should be your go-to option—unless you’re committed to the old-school ways.
The Process of Making Wine
So, before we get too excited about the first batch, here’s an indispensable part of the process: Don’t forget to clean your winemaking equipment.
If you’re too impatient to take care of the sanitization (we understand because we are sometimes), chances are high that your months of preparation would go futile.
So, make it a routine chore to properly clean and sanitize the equipment. Why? Because not doing so could allow dust or any other residues to expose your wine to becoming host to bacteria and an awful lot of other microbes that won’t only hurt the profile and experience of your wine, but also your health.
Usually, winemakers prefer chemical sanitizers to get the job done with convenience—as compared to the conventional methods like immersing your tools in boiling water. After doing so, mix everything well and keep it in a place where the temperature isn’t volatile.
Now, it’s time to mix wine, water and all the other desired additives in the fermenting bucket. After mixing everything up and stirring, seal the container. The fermentation process requires the temperature to be constant so keep the bucket in a suitable place. Generally you should expect this process to take up to 2-3 hours.
Fermentation has two stages, Primary fermentation and the Secondary fermentation, both stages could take up to 3 weeks.
In the process of primary fermentation, the sugar in the juice is fermented into alcohol. The process releases carbon dioxide, and as soon as the amount of CO2 coming out starts wavering, it would indicate that the initial stage of the fermentation is coming to an end.
Once you’re done with the primary fermentation, it’s time you remove additives like oak chips and raisins from the wine. Following that, transfer the wine from the fermenting bucket to a glass carboy.
The primary stage almost takes 10 days to complete. In case you want a stronger flavor of oak notes in your wine, add some oak chips back after you transfer the wine.
Now’s the time when the rest of the sugar converts into alcohol—which is the Secondary Fermentation stage.
This stage is more about measuring how dense your wine is, in contrast to water. As the process progresses, the density of the wine decreases. The density is measured with the specific gravity reading, which is measured by a hydrometer. Different recipes have different targets of the gravity reading and the very reading would give you a heads up to move into the next stage. Quite like the primary fermentation, this could take up to 3 weeks.
Now, your wine is almost ready. In Clarification, solids like tannins, dead yeast cells and proteins are removed from the liquid. Wine is then racked into a different vessel like a stainless-steel tank and later cleaned using fining or simple filtration. The process of fining involves drawing out unwanted particles using adhesive material like clay. The bigger particles are taken out using filtration. The wine obtained at last is racked into another container to prepare it for the process of bottling. The aforementioned processes could sum up to nearly 40 days in case you’re wondering.
And, Budum-tsss! Your wine is ready! To be BOTTLED (oops)!
Well, yes, it isn’t the time you take your first sip. This is the time when you sanitize your tools and wipe them down well. When you bottle it, keep the bottles upright for the first 24 hours. After that, lay them down to moisten their corks.
When Shall I Take My First Sip?
To be fair, the bare minimum time before the wine gets ready for tasting is at least a month. But remember, you’d barely get the best out of the aroma and the flavor of it. The wine begins to show its characteristic flavors after three months of aging or more.
Ideally, 6 months is the recommended time for any whine (white wines and most of the red ones) to be ready. Although, the consensus is always for the idea of more the merrier—the more you age your wine, more would it have the diversity of tasting notes at its disposal. See what kind of wines are great for beginners here if you’re not sure what you want to taste!
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