Short Research Paper on Wine Production

19th June 2017


There are different key aspects to understanding the wine production. Wine, once considered to be the perfect drink with vital religious importance, has always been cherished for its taste and aura. This topic covers the global wine production, the top wine producing nations, the history of wine production, the types of wines produced in different regions, and the very process of creating it.

Global Wine Production

The global, wine production statistics maintained by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). According to it, more than 267 million hectoliters (hl) of wine was produced worldwide in 2016. Italy is the world’s leading wine producer, with the United States coming in at number four.

The list of top 10 countries in wine production and the volume of wine produced are as following:

  • Italy: 50.9 ml
  • France: 43.5 ml
  • Spain: 39.3 ml
  • United States: 23.9 ml
  • Australia: 13 ml
  • China: 11.4 ml
  • South Africa: 10.5 ml
  • Chile: 10.1 ml
  • Argentina: 9.4 ml
  • Germany: 9 ml

History of Wine Production

Vitis vinifera var. Sylvester’s consider as the wild ancestor of the wild grape found in Europe. It is a species native to the area lying between the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea in the Eurasian region. The discovery of this species in areas outside this natural area consider as evidence that it cultivated.

The Unique Case of Chinese Wines

The earliest evidence of wine production has been found in the Jehu region of China, dating back to the Neolithic era. The proof of wine production involving fruit, honey, and rice dates back to around 7000 BC. The seeds of both grape and hawthorn have found at the site. Scripture-based evidence of the use of grapes has associated with the Zhou Dynasty, dating back to around 1046 BC.

The unique thing about the earliest wine recipes in China is that the evidence doesn’t suggest any link to the European grape, but to native wild grape species. Interestingly, the region has had up to four dozens of wild grape species which not import from western Eurasia. The Eurasian grapes came to China only in the second century BC. The first evidence of wine production in Western Asia dates back to 5400 to 5000 BC Hajji Faro’s region in Iran.

Types of Wines

Two main types of wines are produced the world over – the white wine and the red wine, made from the white and black grapes. However, there are many sub-varieties of wines, made based on the sub-species of grape vines that grow in different regions. These include the following different wine types:

  • Riesling (White Wine): This type of wine is produced from grape vines growing in the German area of Rhine and Mosel. The sub-variety has also been imported to other parts of the world, including USA. It stands out for its balance of slight sweetness and firm acidity.
  • Gewürztraminer (White Wine): This type of wine comes from grapevines growing in Alsace in Germany. It is also found in New York and the West Coast (USA). It stands out for its excellent aroma which is a blend of rose petal, allspice, lychee and peach.
  • Chardonnay (White Wine): This wine has been one of the most popular varieties that can be made in both still and sparkling varieties. It originates from the Burgundy region in France and can be found grown in other parts of the world too. It stands out for its deeper velvety and wider-bodied taste compared to other dry white wines. It has vibrant citrus flavors.
  • Sauvignon Blanc (White Wine): This type of grape vine comes from the Bordeaux region in France, and mainly concentrated in the Loire Valley. It is also grown in New Zealand and Australia. Its taste has herbal character with suggestions to fresh mown grass or bell pepper and the flavor can include hints of sour green fruits such as pear, apple, gooseberry, mango, melon or blackcurrant.
  • Syrah (Red Wine): This red wine variety comes from the Rhone Valley in France, but also grows in Australia and California. It stands out for its flavors and aromas of wild black-fruit with touches of black pepper spice.
  • Merlot (Red Wine): It is a soft wine that is often the introductory red-wine for new drinkers. It has herbal and black-cherry flavors and is a valuable addition to the Bordeaux blend.
  • Cabernet sauvignon (Red Wine): this is considered as one of the best grape vine varieties in the world. It has its origins in France and can grow in many places. It is a full-bodied wine with notable bell-pepper notes, but it changes its character with age.
  • Pinot noir (Red Wine): This is among the rarest red wine grapes due to its peculiar characteristics. It has fresh and delicate character and very fruity aromas, even with notes of damp earth and tea-leaf. It is native to France’s Burgundy, but is also found in California, Australia, New Zealand and Oregon.

Wine Making Process

There are 5 basic steps involved in making wine from the grapevine. There can however be some variations in the process depending on the type of wine that needs to do. The 5 basic steps are as following:

  • Picking the Grapes: Usually, white grapes are picked before the red grapes. Grapes are picked and collected in lugs or bings and then moved to the crushing pad. Grapes can be harvested by hand or machine. Night harvesting is considered to help pick grapes with stable sugar levels.
  • Crushing the Grapes: A de-stemmer is used to remove stems from the grape clusters. The grapes will be placed on a sorting table before it is sent to the de-stemmer and then to the crusher. In the crusher, the grapes get separated from the seeds and skins. White wine is typically forwarded to a press to extract the juice and red wine is lightly crushed after de-stemming.
  • Fermentation: It is this stage in the wine production process where the sugar gets converted into alcohol. There are different techniques involved based on the kinds of grapes which are involved. This can include adding yeast to the vats, pumping over the cap, and pressing the grapes after the fermentation process gets completed.
  • Aging the Wine: A wide range of techniques are used to create intense flavors in the wine. It can include aging for a few months or many years, aging in oak or stainless steel, aging in used barrels or new oak, aging in French oak/American oak barrels, aging in ‘toasted’ barrels.

Once this process gets completed, wines bottle for consumption. Dry red wines can take anything from 18 to 24 months to age. On the other hand, some varieties of white wines can be ready in just a few months. Winemaking often considers as an art form, where the flavor can be significantly impacted by what techniques use at each stage. In fact, it is such a subtle “form of art” were even talking to the vines is considered to have a positive impact on the produce.

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Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.