From Grapes to Glass
The making of wine is a nuanced method that has developed in different ways over the years, across the world. While many types of wine have variations in their production processes, the basic steps remain the same, taking the wine all the way from grapes to glass. Each step requires certain equipment and special attention, depending on the product being made. Compressed air, at the correct pressure required, can save more than 50% of energy costs during the wine production process, making it an integral part of the winemaking practice.
The winemaking process begins with alcoholic fermentation. This is done by simply combining sugar, yeast, alcohol, and CO2. From there, it’s time to start aging the wine. Most white and red wines are oaked, meaning they are placed in barrels and left to age. To make red wine, there are other options such as amphora, inox, and concrete. The typical age time for most wines is anywhere from six months – two years.
A large part of winemaking production is a result of the work of equipment and is dependent on its efficiency. Refrigeration, compressed air, and process equipment energy consumption account for almost 84% of overall energy consumption in large wineries. In smaller wineries, HVAC energy consumption is also heavily weighted, accounting for about 36% of energy consumption. During the wine production process, compressors play a key role in the production of grapes, accounting for and overall 10% of energy consumption. Compressed air is most commonly used to crush and press grapes, heat and cool the product, filter and dry the product, and for bottling purposes.
Ever wonder what gives some wines that distinct tart taste? That’s all because of the next step in the process, malolactic conversion. The tart malic acid is naturally present in grapes and is fermented to result in a lighter and softer tasting product, taking anywhere from four to six weeks overall. In addition to the conversion process, white wines and some reds are transferred to barrels to the “racking” our “soutirage” stage. This is basically just another way to complete the filtration process with the intention of getting out sediment and particles to make for the smoothest, refined product.
After this, the wine is ready to be bottled and stored, and enjoyed! Depending on the type, wine can be served and stored at different temperatures across the board, and everyone has their preference.