THE VITICULTURE AND THE WINE-MAKING
Wine has gained an increasing importance in the cooking traditions of every country in the world. Its major elements are organic acids, like lactic and citric acids, sugars, ethyl acetate, colorings,
proteins, inorganic salts and vitamins. The wine-making is a long and complex process consisting of several phases and methods. All begins with the soil that, after a rest period at some time of the year, must be broken up and then levelled to enhance its irrigation. The grafting is a recurring process, that according to certain conditions of the vine can take place either in winter or summer.
The vinegrower can choose between three types of plantation. The “alberello” is the most ancient of the three. Plants can reach one meter in height and are able to yield 5 tons per hectare.
Then are the “pergola”, mostly used to grow table grapes, and the “espalier” training system, that is the most common for the production of wine grapes.
Among the different technics to protect grapes is the “sacchetto”, useful to avoid contact with parasites, cryptogamic and atmospheric agents, and chemical products.
Next phases are the harvest and the wine processing.
The pressing is made with the aid of proper machines that separate the grapes from the stems, what helps to increase the alcoholic content and acidity and to improve the taste of the wine. The “must” so obtained is left to ferment until sugars and acids have reached a perfect balance. The carbon dioxide that forms during the fermentation prevents entry of oxygen and mould growth.
A common type of fermentation is known as “tumultuous”. In five days it produces the wine-must and in fifteen days the flor-wine, named after the yeast that forms on the surface of the wine.
At the end of the process the juice is separated from the skins and placed into wooden vats where a second slower fermentation takes place that transforms sugars into alcohol. Wines with characteristics similar to the one fermenting are added during this phase due to the wine evaporation to keep the vat full and avoid contact with oxygen.
Next is the “finishing”. Differing from previous phases, some oxygen is now needed to reduce acidity.
The last two phases of the wine-making are the “filtration” required to clean the wine, and the “aging” that gives the product its final peculiar characteristics, suche as flavor and harmony.