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KNOWLEDGE INDEX

Vine

Terroir

Winemaking

Tasting

VINE.

To make good wine, you need good grapes.

BIOLOGY

The vine is from the Vitaceae family of the genus Vitis which is the only one to produce edible fruits. The vine is 72 species divided into 2 categories: The wild vine ( Sylvestris ) and the vine used to make wine ( Vinifera ).

Through the action of photosynthesis, the vine leaves will capture sunlight (UV) and will transform CO2 into sugar.

CONSTITUTION OF THE GRAPE GRAIN

There are five main parts:

THE RAFLE
It grows on the peduncle which is attached to the vine shoot. It brings water, cellulose, tannins and acid.

FILM
Which could also be called the skin, is a precursor of aromas, brings coloring matter and tannins.

Blossom
Fine waxy layer that covers the film, it provides indigenous yeasts (natural sulphites)

PULP
Matter full of water, sugar and acids

GLITCHES
Located in the pulp they bring tannins and oil

VINE DISEASES

DISEASES
INSECTS

The most "infamous" is phylloxera , which lives on the leaves or the roots and causes the death of the vine in 3 years. It ravaged vines around the world between 1860 and 1919. There are also grape worms and the last, to arrive in 2008, the Suzukii midge from Asia which transforms grape juice into vinegar. The fight is made by natural predators, traps, endocrine disruptors, and insecticides.

DISEASES
CRYPTOGAMICS

These are fungi that are known in the following forms: downy mildew , powdery mildew and gray rot . These settle on the leaves and grains. There are two that concentrate on the woods and prevent the circulation of the sap, causing the death of the vine. These are the Eutypose and the Esca . We fight against these diseases by aeration of the vine stock, naturally resistant grape varieties (Divico) and treatments (contact, biodynamic, fungicides)

DISEASES
PHYTOPLASM

A mixture of virus and bacteria, since it is a disease transmitted by an insect (the leafhopper). It is called Flavescence Dorée . Brand new and arrived in Switzerland in 2015, it led to the death of the vine stock. The only way to fight against it at present is to quarantine or destroy infected vine plots in order to prevent its development.

MAKE WINE
HARVESTING & PRESSING

Once the grape has reached its ideal (according to the winemaker), it will be harvested to be brought to the press, it is the harvest . The grapes will then be pressed to extract the juice, which is called " the must ". We will then compost the plant remains of the bunch, " the marc ", or we will distill them.

TERROIR.

When the planet is tasted in the glass.

WHAT IS THE TERROIR?

We can probably classify the terroir in the top 10 of the most used words when we talk about wine and other products that are tasted. But what is it exactly?
The terroir, applied to wine, is all the components of the environment of the vine that will have a direct influence on the wine. Namely: the soil , the topography , the biodiversity , the climate , the work of humans and the plant . Clearly, each of these characteristics will bring different flavors to the wine.

Drinking wine is tasting the planet!

THE GROUNDS
SEDIMENTARY

Sedimentary soil is soil formed from small particles from mineral soils that have been transported by wind or water. 70% of the continents are made up of sedimentary rocks. You will mainly find the following rocks: limestone, red clay, sand, flint, alluvial

MAGMATIC

Magmatic rocks are formed when magma (partially or totally liquid rock) cools and solidifies. They have two modes of formation: volcanic (cooling in contact with air) or plutonic (slow cooling at depth). The most common are granite and basalt .

METAMORPHIC

These are soils that contain metamorphic rock. Said rocks are buried kilometers underground and come from the transformation of pre-existing rocks undergoing a significant modification of the physico-chemical conditions of their environment. Action of pressure / temperature. Shale and slates are the main ones.

SOIL INFLUENCES

The soil has an important influence on the vine and therefore the grapes harvested for winemaking. Indeed, the vine is lazy, and its roots will try to stay as high as possible. She will love deep, rich, impermeable soil, but she will develop much less flavor than deep, poor, permeable soil, since her roots won't have to grow deep to get all the nutrients she needs.

THE CLIMATE
OCEANIC

It is characterized by mild, wet winters and cooler summers than for subtropical climates. One of the major characteristics of this climate is also its progressive evolution as soon as one moves away from the maritime facades, with increasingly continental traits. Only the coastal regions of the western facade experience a truly oceanic climate, the interior of the land being characterized by a so-called degraded oceanic climate. This is for example the case of Alsace, Switzerland, Germany, western Austria, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. A well-known wine region that benefits from this climate is Bordeaux .

MEDITERRANEAN

Hot, dry summers, mild, wet winters. The intermediate position of regions with a Mediterranean climate between temperate depressions and subtropical anticyclones means that the cold season is humid and subject to variable weather and that the hot season is dry and little variable. Often, the limit of the cultivation of the olive tree corresponds to the extension zone of this climate. Known region, Languedoc-Roussillon. Others have the same climatic conditions: The western sides of continents, between 30 and 45° latitude (California, central Chile, Cape region in South Africa, South and West Australia).

SEMI-CONTINENTAL

Maritime climate with a more pronounced difference between winter and summer, summers are hot and winters have a large number of snow or frost days. It is thus closer to the continental climate than to the oceanic climate. It can be found in the northeast quarter of France (Grand Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, etc.) as well as in the Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes valleys, and also in the Plaine du Pô (Northern Italy). Coteaux du Lizon is an example of a city with a semi-continental climate, but we can also mention Pontarlier, Épinal (France) or Turin (Italy) and Prague (Czech Republic) within a larger radius.

CLIMATE INFLUENCES

There are other types of climate such as the mountainous which is considered from 700m altitude, as well as micro-climates such as Cape Doctor in South Africa, Lavaux in Switzerland, etc. The climate has a big influence on the vine, as can be seen below, and can truly be felt in the glass. A good indicator of the climate will be the color of the wine.

PRECIPITATION

TOO

Risk of destroying the flower in the spring, fungal diseases in the summer, risk of swelling the berries and diluting the juice before the harvest

NOT ENOUGH

Risk of water stress and death of the vine stock

SUNSHINE

TOO

Risk of having too much sugar and not enough acidity in the grape berries and therefore in the wines: imbalance, risk of the vine drying out

NOT ENOUGH

Difficulty in activating photosynthesis: less sugar in the berries and poor ripeness of the grapes

VINIFICATION.

The art of turning grapes into a wonderful drink

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE

Winemaking is an operation that requires a lot of know-how. You have to be quick and patient. Precise and creative. A winegrower said: When you really master winemaking, you are past retirement age.

BASIC PRINCIPLES

UNDERSTANDING WINE
VINIFYING A RED WINE

Immediately after the harvest, the bunches are brought to the cellar (with great care) and the damaged grapes are sorted. The grapes undergo several transformations over a period ranging from a few months to a few years.

1. Destemming and crushing

The bunches are shelled in order to eliminate the stalk (the stem) because this can contain very astringent tannins that we often try to avoid (except in certain regions). Wines whose grapes have not been destemmed will often give more acidity. After this, the grapes will be pressed, which was done with the feet before the arrival of the machines. In this way, the skin is separated from the flesh and the juice is extracted.

2. Vatting or maceration

We now place the must (juice obtained after crushing) in a vat for several days (or even several weeks for the great wines) so that the sugar is transformed into alcohol and CO2, which is called alcoholic fermentation. It is there that the skins of the flesh will color the juice which, basically, is transparent. It is now that the winemaker can proceed to the possible addition of sugar (chaptalisation), yeasts and/or sulphites.

3. Punching down or pumping over

During the maceration, a solid cap is formed on the fermented must, this is called the marc. The winemaker will then choose either to press the marc into the juice (trapping) which will accentuate the color, the aromas and the tannins, or to pump the juice from the bottom of the tank and put it back above the marc (re-boosting). ), this will have the same effect as trapping but in a gentler way, a bit like brewing a tea.

4. Devatting or pressing of the pomace

It's time to separate the juice from the marc. The first juice obtained is the most noble, it is called "wine of the drop". Then, the marc is pressed, to obtain the "press wine". The latter is much more tannic and dense. You can make a blend or not with free run wine (less and less used). As for the marc, if desired, it can be distilled and thus obtain the famous marc alcohol.

5. Aging and malolactic fermentation

The wine is put in vats (which can be made of stainless steel, concrete, wood, etc.) for a few weeks and even up to 36 months for certain wines for laying down. During this pseudo rest, the invigorator can carry out racking (separation of the wine from its lees, deposit) or fining, which consists of adding a substance to fix the particles in suspension by dragging them towards the bottom. In parallel, the malolactic fermentation, more commonly called "malo" or "MLF", occurs. It will reduce acidity and increase its stability by transforming malic acids into lactic acids.

6. Blending and bottling

Blending consists of mixing different grape varieties, harvests or vines (young and old). It is not systematically practiced, this varying according to legislation and, of course, the choice of the winemaker. We will then proceed to the bottling of the wine, which will take place either at the end of these stages, or after aging in barrels (barrels).

UNDERSTANDING WINE
WINE A WHITE WINE

When making a white wine, it is necessary to prevent the juice from becoming coloured. For the rest, a white wine follows the same steps as a red wine, with the difference that there will be no maceration since the skins will be removed during the pressing in order to leave only the juice in fermentation. alcoholic (AF)

UNDERSTANDING WINE
WINE A ROSÉ WINE

To vinify a rosé wine, there are two methods, and it will be necessary to use grapes with red skin.

Bleeding rosé

It is by this method that the majority of rosé wines are made. The maceration of juices and skins follows the same process as that of red wines but lasts much less time, between 8 hours and 2 days. Bleeding consists of prematurely draining the red juices during maceration. The juice is therefore separated from the skins.

Direct pressing rosé

This method is very similar to that used to produce white wines. The grapes are pressed directly and the pressing lasts longer than for the white. This gives clearer and lighter rosés.

Rosé Œil-de-Perdrix

A Neuchâtel speciality, this fine and characterful rosé is made 100% from lightly macerated Pinot Noir. Indeed, even if today many produce Œil-de-Perdrix, the latter has its origins in the canton of Neuchâtel. And as we say here, "often imitated, never equaled"

Settling, FA, and aging

These stages are substantially similar to those for a white wine. We will proceed to the settling, which consists in racking a tank after the sedimentation of the lees and before the alcoholic fermentation (AF), in order to obtain clearer wines in terms of color. Alcoholic fermentation (AF) lasts about ten days before stabilizing the wine in vats for a few weeks. One can also optionally carry out operations of sulphiting, assembly, fining, filtration. It will then be bottled, for marketing which generally takes place in the spring.

UNDERSTANDING WINE
VINIFYING A SPARKLING WINE

Most sparkling wines are made using the Champagne method (known as the traditional method outside of Champagne). The only difference compared to still wines is the additional operation of prize de mousse.

Pressing and AF

The pressing is carried out at low pressure and for a short time in order to avoid any maceration. The juice is then placed in vats or barrels (depending on whether drier or fatter wines are desired). The fermentation will last about 20 days.

Assembly

For champagnes, only three grape varieties are authorized: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. To obtain a vintage champagne, all the blended grape varieties (the juices) must be from the same year. As for the rosé champagnes, part of the red grapes is vinified in red and added to the blend.

Foam intake

Once the assembly is done, the wine is bottled and a "tirage liqueur" (a mixture of sugar and yeast) is added to it which will allow a new alcoholic fermentation. The latter, by the production of carbon dioxide will reduce the sugar level and create the foam. A stage that lasts between three and five weeks.

Aging and riddling

The wines will now be aged in the cellar. The aging time varies according to the product you want to obtain (12 months for a Crémant, 15 months for a non-vintage champagne, and 3 years for a vintage). Aging is done on slats. Then, for several weeks, the bottles are placed with the neck down on inclined panels. This allows dead yeast to come and settle towards the cork. During this time, every day, we will turn the bottles by an eighth. They are either specialists who do it by hand, or motorized systems, called gyropalettes. This step is called riddling.

Disgorging and dosage

By disgorging we mean the action of plunging the neck of the bottle into a tank at -28 degrees to expel, like an ice cube, the deposit from the bottle. This step is extremely technical and is always carried out by hand by a few masters in the field. Next comes the dosage, where the winemaker can add an expedition liqueur (a mixture of wine and sugar that will define the sweetness of the wine). The bottles are then closed with the definitive corks and the muzzles that seal them.

UNDERSTANDING WINE
VINIFYING OTHER TYPES OF WINES

There are multitudes of specialties by country. Here are the most famous.

Sweet or sweet wine

These are sweeter tasting wines. They are made from grapes with a high sugar content. The latter can be achieved by two different means: raisining, which consists of leaving the grapes to dry out naturally in the open air in order to concentrate the sugar; or Botrytis Cinerea, which is called noble rot because it is a fungus which, under certain climatic conditions, allows the concentration of the sugar level. During fermentation, the sugars raise the alcoholic potential to 15°. The alcohol level then kills the remaining yeasts before all the sugar has been able to transform.

Natural sweet wine and liqueur wine

To make a natural sweet wine (VDN), pure wine alcohol is added while the alcoholic fermentation is not complete. This operation is called muting. This kills the yeasts and blocks their fermentation action, resulting in sweeter wines. For liqueur wines (VDL), the process is the same except that the added alcohol is wine brandy.

yellow wine

This world famous specialty of the French Jura is created from the Savagnin grape variety. Until ageing, the vinification stages are similar to those of a white wine. Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is placed in barrels for a period of at least six years and three months, without any topping up (which is a regular filling of the barrel to compensate for natural evaporation). With this evaporation, a veil is created on the surface of the wine. The latter will then protect the wine from the air, thus preventing it from turning sour and giving it its unique nutty aromas. Once ready, the wine is put into 62cl bottles, called "clavelins".

The tasting

When the symphony begins.
How to taste?
THE LOOK

It is always interesting to look at your glass from all angles. Is the wine dark, clear, consistent, does it have suspended particles, etc.

THE NOSE

You smell the wine once, you swirl it in the glass, you smell it again. We seek here to assimilate odors with our experience.

THE MOUTH

We are going to look for flavors and sensations. There are three stages: The attack (the first taste), the middle, the final (once the wine has been swallowed or spat out).

THE COLOUR

The darker the dress (color) of the wine, the more it suggests that it comes from a warm region. As for the edges of the dress, they indicate the age of the wine. Taking the color palette below for the whites and above for the reds, the more you go from the left to the right hues, the older the wine.

OLFACTORY ANALYSIS

Smelling the wine gives us many indications and allows us to answer certain questions such as: the grape variety(ies), whether the wine is young or old, the type of aging and the type of soil. The olfactory memory is the most difficult to educate.

Each grape variety has its own characteristic

Discover our guide to recognize each grape variety in a wine.
Three categories of aromas
PRIMARY

The primary aromas are the aromas of fruit, of the grape variety(ies). They indicate that the wine is young.

SECONDARY

The secondary aromas are lactic aromas (brioche, bread, milk, etc.). The wine is still young but aging.

TERTIARY

Tertiary aromas are aromas that indicate that the wine is old and/or aged in wood. Forest, coffee, mushrooms, etc.

SIX FAMILIES

Then comes the flavor families. When you discover a wine, you have to look for categories and families then look for aromas in each family:
fruity , floral , vegetal , mineral , spices , and others .

TASTE ANALYSIS

The tastes will now come out. However, flavors and aromas should not be mixed. We are talking here about: bitter, acid, salty, sweet, umami.

TO SHINE in society
"Mmmh, that's right"

If the taste of the wine stays in the center of the tongue without spreading too much, then use this phrase.

"It lacks a bit of body that"

The wine you drink has no real taste and the little it has disappears quickly? Then that's the perfect thing to say!

"Ah yeah, it has a beautiful color"

After looking at the wine from several angles, balance this sentence, it always goes well.

"Oh, he has a pretty astringency"

If the wine you drink makes your mouth a bit dry and you think it's nice, don't hesitate to say this!

A maximum of "on", of "smells", of "it has a side"

Adapt everything that comes to mind with these words ("we are clearly on the fruit", "we can smell the pepper side ")