What is Wine?
What You Need To Know About Wine?
It seems like a simple question but what makes up the juice that so many covet? What makes wine red? What makes the wine sweet? What makes wine taste so good? So many factors to discuss when talking about what is wine?
A Simple Explanation:
Wine is fermented fruit juice. Fermentation occurs when microorganisms called yeast metabolize the sugars in fruit juice, creating alcohol and flavor compounds. The yeast may occur naturally in the environment, or the winemaker might add commercially produced yeast.
Of all the fruits used to make wine, the fruit of the grape is the most widespread and successful for several reasons.
Grapes are among the sweetest of fruits. This means their sugar content is sufficient to generate the level of alcohol consumers expect in a wine. When trying to make wine using the juice of apples, for example, producers must often add sugar from another source, because the apple juice simply is not sweet enough. Ironically, many times the sweetener they use is concentrated white grape juice.
Grapes have the right kind of acid. Tartaric acid maintains the chemical stability of the wine and contributes to its taste and color. You will notice from this chart of fruit acidity that grapes do not have the most acidity (there is more to a wine than acidity), but the right kind, tartaric acid.
Grapes bring flavor intensity, on their own and when fermented with yeast.
Red (black) grape skins, seeds, and stems add tannins to wines. These are naturally occurring compounds that give the sensation of dryness or astringency in the mouth. We do not taste tannins – we feel them.
The right balance of tannins with alcohol, flavor, and acidity makes for an enjoyable and balanced red wine.
Still confused about what is wine? Take a look at some wine basics in the BuyWine.com Wine Academy:
The Basics on Wine:
- What is Wine?
- A Short History of Wine
- Wine Grape Species
- Red Wine Grapes and Their Personalities
- White Wine Grapes and Their Personalities
- Wine Environments: Where Wine Grapes Grow
- Vine Diseases and Pests
- Viticulture – The Science of Wine
- Winemaking – Rose, Sparkling and Fortified Wines
- Winemaking – Red Wine
- Winemaking – White Wine
- Wine Chemistry
- Wine and Health