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The secret is in the vine

The secret is in the vine

Winegrowers will tell you that a wine is made on the vine. The care that is lavished on a vine and the time its fruit are harvested have a direct impact on the finished product’s quality. Take advantage of National Wine Day to unlock the mysteries of wine making.

Factors influencing wine quality

 

A number of factors come into play in forming the character of the final product, the quality of the grape foremost among them. Other factors are the terroir, or growing region, the viticulture, and the variety of grape.

Terroir

Terroir encompasses all the geographic and climatic elements influencing the cultivation of the grapes.

The soil and subsoil

Vines are not exacting plants: They are content on poor soil. Rich soils produce more grapes, but of lower quality. Vines like stony soils because the stones facilitate runoff, accumulate heat in the day that is given off at night, and, above all, reflect the glare of the sun onto the grapes.

Climate

Every drop of rain, hour of sunshine, and degree of temperature will have a decisive impact on the quality and quantity of the harvest and on the notion of vintage.

Geographic situation

Vine cultivation requires annual average temperatures above 10°C. Naturally, the Mediterranean countries are the ideal environment. Vines grow best on south-east and south-west slopes in sunny spots, and it is in these conditions that the finest products are made.

 

Viticulture

 

Viticulture in agriculture is the cultivation of grapevines.

Yield and maturity of grapes

Yield is the quantity of grapes produced per hectare. By avoiding overproduction, wine-growers add concentration and complexity to their harvests. Maturity refers to the harmony between the sugar and acidity content and the maturity of the grapes’ skin.

Human labour

Human intervention, by those who grow the vine and those who process the harvest, is essential for a wine to reach its full potential.

 

Variety

 

The variety of grape used in a wine is the factor with the biggest influence on its taste. A grape variety is chosen according to the region it’s grown in, its exposure to the sun, its resistance, its yield and whether it will be blended or not with other varieties

Many elements go into making a specific wine what it is, not least of which are the ways winemakers themselves contribute to the process; it’s in these latter interventions that a wine develops a unique personality, signature, and even, soul.

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