Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Introduction To Winemaking

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(light marimba music)

>> (narrator) Winemaking is the intentional transformation

of grape juice into wine through fermentation.

>> The job of a winemaker, the way I see it,

is to choreograph the creation of the wine in the bottle

from the time you choose a vineyard,

to determine when it's picked,

to look at the whole vision of what you want

from a particular vineyard and make that happen

both in the vineyard and the winery.

>> (narrator) Viticulture and winemaking

are inextricably linked.

But we can consider the winemaking process

as beginning with the decision of when to pick.

>> The decision to pick is really, really important.

That's probably the most critical part

of the whole winemaking process.

>> (narrator) Factors in deciding when to pick

include the amount of sugar and acid in the grapes,

impending weather, and the availability of tank space

in the winery.

Approaches to harvest vary.

But the primary goal is to ensure that the fruit

is kept cool and intact

and arrives quickly to the winery.

>> So we get started picking grapes at about midnight.

Everything is hand-harvested

into small, quarter-ton lug boxes.

We'll bring them into the winery,

weigh them, and then put them into a cold room.

At that point, we'll begin processing.

>> (narrator) Sorting is done by hand

or mechanically, using equipment designed

to remove unwanted material.

>> We take the quarter-ton bin,

we'll dump it onto a table.

We'll go through and have four to six people

hand-inspecting the clusters.

Then we destem the fruit.

We may choose to leave some as whole cluster,

which we'll then dump into the tank.

For Pinot Noir, we begin the destemming process,

and then we go through and we individually sort the berries.

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>> (narrator) For red wines,

winemakers must decide whether to destem grapes

or ferment the bunches as whole clusters

and whether or not to deliberately crush the berries.

>> We aim for minimal crushing of the berries.

Having whole berries,

we get a slight carbonic maceration effect,

where we're actually having the berries break down

and release specific strawberry and grassy hay flavors

that are really pretty in the wine.

>> When I'm making red wine, it's very much variety specific.

Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, in both,

I include some whole clusters,

because I want a very long, extended fermentation time,

and that's a tool to attain that.

Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, I tend to destem them 100%.

>> (narrator) There is no single right way

to make a wine.

Two outstanding producers just as often come

to opposite conclusions

regarding any individual decision.

The key to quality winemaking lies in experience,

intuition, and an understanding

of how the complex interaction of hundreds of choices

can lead to a desired result.

>> The fundamental difference

between red winemaking and white winemaking

is that, with white wines, the juice is separated

from the skins and the seeds before fermentation.

>> (narrator) For white wines,

a bladder or pneumatic press is often used.

>> It's a membrane that inflates

from one side of this big tube like a can,

pressing the grapes up against a channeled screen.

And then, the juice comes out of the press.

>> (narrator) White grapes can be whole-bunch pressed,

or they can be crushed or destemmed before pressing.

>> We don't like a lot of phenolic extraction

in white wine, so you go direct to a press.

You press very gently.

And you'll separate the juice from the skins and the seeds

as quickly as possible.

>> If your stylistic preference is for wine

with a little more body and flavor,

you might destem it, leave it on the skins for a while,

anywhere from a few hours to a day or more

to extract things from the skins.

>> (narrator) For rosé, red grapes

may go directly to the press and be handled like white wine.

Alternatively, rosé can be made from saignée,

or juice drawn off a tank of red grape must

after a short maceration.

>> By definition, red wine is made by fermenting

with the skins and the seeds present.

All of the color in wine comes from the skins.

The tannins, the spice compounds,

come from the skins and the seeds.

So with red fermentation, you ferment first and press later.

>> We'll do that with a basket press.

So it's a small basket press with a single plunger,

and basically give them a little squeeze,

and the juice comes out.

>> (narrator) The length of skin contact

prior to pressing a red wine depends on grape variety,

fruit quality, and intended wine style.

>> With mountain Cabernet,

tannin is a big factor in our wines.

So our grapes come in with a lot of tannin,

a lot of intensity,

and the time that they spend on the skins

is where all of that flavor comes into the wine.

So that pressing decision is really, really key.

>> (narrator) Ageworthy wines

made from healthy grapes often spend more time on the skins,

while lighter styles of wine may be pressed earlier.

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Once the fruit is processed,

the juice or must is transferred to fermentation vessels,

which come in a variety of sizes,

and may be made of stainless steel,

wood, or concrete.

>> In the case of white wines, we use exclusively barrels--

barriques, 225-liter French oak barrels.

For reds, we have two different techniques.

We can use stainless steel open-top fermenters,

or we actually have some wood open-top fermenters as well.

>> (narrator) The size and material

of the vessel impact the temperature of fermentation.

Many modern tanks are equipped with cooling jackets

to provide more control.

In primary fermentation, sugar is converted

to carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Winemakers track its progress

by measuring the Brix level, or density of the must.

>> In general, the amount of alcohol there

is about 0.6 times the level of sugar

that came into the winery.

So if you come in at 24 degrees Brix,

you're gonna get a 14.5% alcohol wine.

>> Yeast can come from a variety of sources.

You can buy cultured yeast,

which had been selected from a fermentation

where somebody liked the attributes

and propagated it and made it available.

Or you can rely on the ambient yeast in a winery.

>> (narrator) Fermentation is typically

carried out by the wine yeast Saccharomyces,

which is adapted to the conditions

of high sugar and alcohol.

Yeast requires sufficient nutrients and oxygen to thrive.

Otherwise, stuck fermentations or reductive aromas can occur.

>> Prior to fermentation,

I always have a full juice panel run by a local lab

which gives me all the organic acids, the nutrients,

a number of other things I like to look at.

We're not directed by numbers,

but they give you information that's valuable.

>> (narrator) Chemical analysis of the juice

exposes deficiencies that can be supplemented

by nutrient and acid additions.

Fermentation produces heat.

And the range of temperatures throughout the process

can impact the flavors of the resulting wine.

>> With red grapes, you really want to get

a lot of heat early in the fermentation.

That's how you extract color and tannin into the wines.

>> Some people prefer lower fermentation temperatures

to extend the fermentation or to keep the wines

more on the fruity side.

>> (narrator) While red wine fermentations

reach peak temperatures in the 80s or low 90s Fahrenheit,

white wine fermentations are cooler,

especially in the case of aromatic wines.

The physical contact of juice and skins

is key to extraction.

For red wines, this is manipulated

through cap management.

>> As the yeasts start to convert the sugar into alcohol,

the juice is released from the grapes,

and all the skins are lifted up to the top of the tank

by the carbon dioxide that's being produced.

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>> So one thing that we want to do

is we want to come in and mix the cap

to regulate the amount of temperature

that's built up in the tank.

>> (narrator) During the fermentation,

the tank is typically mixed one to three times per day,

with practices adapted to vintage and grape variety.

>> You can do that with a pumpover,

where you're actually pumping the juice

from the bottom of the tank

and then gently wetting the cap on the top.

You can also do it with a punchdown,

where you're submerging the cap down into the juice.

And you'll get more or less extraction

depending on how you choose to manage your cap.

>> (narrator) Once fermentation is complete,

the new wine is drained off of the skins.

This free-run wine is often higher quality

than the wine obtained from pressing the skins.

>> There's a secondary fermentation

that some people do, some people don't,

particularly in white wines,

called malolactic fermentation.

>> What is malolactic fermentation?

It's the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid

with malolactic bacteria.

>> There are stylistic reasons for doing it

with some white wines, such as Chardonnay,

because you want the reduction in acidity,

or you're looking for the diacetyl, buttery character

it can impart.

But primarily, it is a stability tool.

>> (narrator) For aromatic white wines,

varietal flavors are often preserved

by preventing secondary fermentation

through low temperature, sulfur additions,

or sterile filtration.

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>> Élevage is the term that we use for the period of time

after fermentation, before a wine is bottled.

Generally, for red wines

and for barrel-fermented white wines,

it's the time that they spend in barrel

where they might be stirred, racked, topped.

All of those things that we can do in barrel.

>> (narrator) Depending on wine style,

élevage can last anywhere from a few months

to several years.

>> Historically, barrels were just a vessel

to allow wine to mature in.

One person can handle a barrel.

That's why 50 to 70 gallons tends to be the size range

in most areas of the world.

But it's a convenient aging container.

>> (narrator) The proportion of new oak,

toast level, and origin of the wood

all impact the flavor imparted by the barrel.

>> But even an older barrel

that has no flavor at all of wood anymore

has a great effect on the wine.

>> (narrator) Stirring, or bâtonnage,

increases contact with the lees,

which are yeast cells and other solids

that have settled from the wine.

>> Stirring is a great way to bring flavor

into a white wine.

All of our Chardonnay is fermented in barrel,

and so, as those yeast die,

they settle down to the bottom of the barrel.

And by stirring the barrel,

we're mixing them back in with the wine

where all of the contents of the yeast cells

are being released and those are the polysaccharides

and mannoproteins that make the wine really thick

and delicious.

>> Because it's a small vessel,

every time you open that bung on the barrel,

you're letting a tiny bit of oxygen in.

So you get slightly more oxidative aging in a barrel

than you would in a large tank.

>> (narrator) Topping replaces wine

lost to evaporation during aging.

>> We call the evaporation from a barrel

the "angel's share."

So that's wine that is going out into the air

and the barrel is becoming lower and lower,

so we have to top that up with fresh wine

in order to prevent oxygen from getting into the barrel.

>> (narrator) Racking occurs several times

during the life of a wine.

>> Racking is where you take all of the wine

from one lot or block of grapes,

and you pump all the barrels out into a tank,

you clean all your barrels,

and then you pump the wine back into the same barrels

or different barrels, depending on the flavors you want.

>> (narrator) Blending can be done

at any time during élevage.

>> I like to let the wines age for at least eight months

before I start blending.

I think that is a good point

to really see the long-term flavors

and character of each wine.

>> (narrator) Winemakers blend wines

from different grape varieties,

vineyard sites, or styles to create a more complete wine.

>> After fermentation, the biggest enemy of wine

is access to oxygen.

>> (narrator) While wine may benefit

from a small amount of oxygen,

for most wines, protection from excessive oxidation

is achieved with the addition of sulfur dioxide.

>> Sulfur dioxide is a preservative

that's been used in wine for hundreds of years.

They used to burn sulfur wicks in barrels.

Sulfur dioxide is antioxidant,

and it's also somewhat antimicrobial.

>> (narrator) Sulfur dioxide can be added

at various points throughout the winemaking process,

depending on the condition of the fruit

and the style of the wine.

>> As the sulfur stays in the wine,

it reduces over time, relatively very quickly.

So each time we open the barrel, we'll check the sulfur,

and maybe we'll make a small addition.

>> If you're in a rush to get 'em to market

or if it's your preference,

there are stability things you can do to the wines.

Chilling, fining, filtration--

there's lots of tools to get them market-ready.

>> Filtration is removing sediment from wine

or removing yeast and bacteria.

In some cases, the wine might be a little bit hazy.

And then, it's the winemaker's opinion

that that haze could be a little bit bitter,

and a very loose filtration to clarify the wine

will make it actually taste better.

>> Sometimes, filtration just comes down

to a stability issue.

If you bottle a wine and it has enough malic acid,

or enough residual sugar, or not enough SO2

for something to go wrong in bottle,

then you wanna make sure that you've removed

any yeast or bacteria that could become active

once the wine has been bottled.

>> (narrator) Fining agents such as egg whites

or clay may be used to improve the tannin structure,

clarity, or aroma of a wine.

Bottling is the last opportunity

a winemaker has to influence wine quality.

>> I don't want to bottle a wine

until I feel that the wine has developed

and reached its apogee in terms of balance and interest.

And that can vary.

It's not on a calendar.

Every wine will develop differently.

>> (narrator) Bottling lines are complex,

with many opportunities for error.

It may not be the most romantic part of the process,

but this overlooked aspect is essential to ensure quality.

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>> There are a number of faults that can affect wine quality

and, as a winemaker, that's the last thing

that you want to have happen to your wine.

>> I think the biggest problem with most wineries

is microbiological spoilage,

which can occur from a variety of sources.

And we try to be very careful

and make sure our cooperage is clean

and well maintained,

and to keep the wines topped.

>> (narrator) Spoilage from undesirable yeast

or bacteria can impact flaws,

such as high levels of volatile acidity

or barnyard aromas.

Most microbial spoilage can be avoided

through clean cellar practices.

At low levels or when done intentionally,

some wine faults may add interest to a wine.

Cork taint, however, is always seen as a flaw,

which has led to experimentation with cork alternatives.

>> Beyond natural cork, there are agglomerated corks,

there's lots of plastic closures,

there's glass closures.

And then, of course, screwcap.

There are many options available to winemakers today.

>> (narrator) The same wine

under different closures will vary in terms of consistency,

rate of oxidation, and flavor.

Cost, consumer perception, and convenience

are also important factors.

>> Patience is very important.

You can't be an impatient person when you're making wine.

Decisions are very long and slow.

>> (narrator) While the fundamental principles

of winemaking are universal,

practices vary by region, grape variety, and wine style,

allowing winemakers to craft unique expressions.

>> Every wine is a new experience.

It's got its own journey

and, if you listen carefully enough,

it'll tell you what it wants to be and where it wants to go.

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The Description of Introduction To Winemaking