Winemaking is an art – a delicious masterpiece in a bottle. Ontario VQA winemakers and vintners bring their passion and dedication to every bottle they craft. Visit your favourite winery and book a tour today to see first-hand the transformation from grapes to wine.
When the grapes are at optimal ripeness they are picked, often by hand, in order to choose the best clusters for the wine.
Harvested grapes are then sorted to remove any leaves or damaged berries and then gently crushed to break the skins of the grapes.
The fermentation process begins when the yeast is added to the naturally sweet grape juice, which chemically turns the juice into alcohol. Since red wine obtains its colour from the grape skins, the juice must remain in contact with the skins during this step. White wines are first pressed (see below) before this step begins.
Red Wines: After fermentation is complete and the desired colour and flavours are achieved the wine is gently pressed to separate from the skins, seeds and pulp. White wines: Immediately after the de-stemming/crushing step the juice is gently pressed to remove the skins, seeds and pulp.
Some wines are aged in oak barrels to develop more complex and balanced flavours, others are aged in stainless steel tanks. This step will depend on the grapes used and how the winemaker wants the wine to taste. Aging can last from a couple of months to many years.
The wine is sometimes fined and filtered to remove any unwanted particles. Some winemakers choose to skip this step resulting in cloudier and oftentimes more “rustic” – style wines.
The wine is transferred into glass bottles, labeled and ready to enjoy!