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WHAT IS WINE

– Fruit juice, sugar and yeast.
– Can be made from almost any grape or fruit and some flowers.
– Fermented, aged and then bottled.
– 62 million tons of grapes harvested each year.
– 8 billion gallons of wine produced each year.
– Largest producers are France, Italy, Spain and United States.


BREIF HISTORY OF WINE

– 6000 BC evidence of fermented grapes in clay casks near Georgia on the east coast of the Black Sea.
– 5000 BC in Middle East near present day Iraq and eastern Syria.
– 1500 BC Greek civilization was first to cultivate grape and make wine for commercial purposes.
– Roman Empire helped grape vines and wine flourish through western Europe around same time: France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
– As Roman Empire fell, the Catholic Church and the Monks preserved and sustained the vineyards and wine making.
– European and Spanish settlers brought their wine making knowledge and vines everywhere the began to settle.
– North America’s growing potential for grapes discovered by Leif Erickson around 1000 AD, named land Vinland, because of all the grapes found already growing. Grapes were not good enough to produce a quality wine, so they were abandon for the time.
– 1500 wine production begins in China and South Africa.
– 1629 first grape wines from Europe brought to an area near present day San Antonio, Texas.
– 1769 was first vineyards planted in California by Spanish Missionaries near Los Angeles.
– 1788 grape vines brought to Australia from South Africa.
– 1851 was first secular vineyard planted in California.
– 1857, California’s oldest commercial winery was built-Buena Vista, followed by Almaden and Charles Krug.
– 1860’s wine production began in New York near the Finger Lakes Region.


HOW WINE IS MADE

– Harvest grapes when fruit has the right balance of acid and sugar.
– Grapes de-stemmed and crushed.
– Juice is either separated from skins or left in contact.
– Red wines get their color from the grape skins.
– The longer the contact, the deeper color and flavor, potential for longer aging.
– You can make white wine from red grapes, but red wine cannot be made from green grapes.
– Sulfites and yeast added, fermentation begins.
– Sulfites are a preservative added to wine.
– Aged in stainless steel or oak casks up to 36 months.
– Aging begins once fermentation is finished.
– Red wines are aged much longer than whites.
– Aging mellows the wine, oak casks introduce additional flavors and aromas.
– When done aging, wine is bottled.
– Cork or screw cap (stelvin).
– Screw caps are the best way to seal a new bottle of wine.
– Supply of good cork is decreasing.
– Poor quality cork can allow a wine to oxidize or become tainted.
– Synthetic corks work well, but can be hard to remove and tend to be more expensive.

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