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Winemaking is an elaborate process that starts from grapes in the vineyards and ends with wine in the bottles.

Here, the following 4 main procedures will be described:
  1. Harvesting
  2. Transportation
  3. Pressing
  4. Fermentation.
1) Harvesting: in the Mediterranean countries (and the countries outside of the Mediterranean, but with Mediterranean climate!) the most suited moment for harvesting the grapes is in autumn (late September/October), after the long, dry summer months, when the grapes are fully ripe. The farmers harvest bunches of grapes using knives or scissors and then place them in containers. According to the height of the grapevines and the location of the vineyards, this can be a very long and laborious process.

2) Transportation: the grapes collected in the transport cases are transferred from the vineyard to the area where winemaking takes place. Traditionally, this was done in the homes of farmers, as still happens today in local, small-scale winemaking. More often, though, wine is produced for the wine market and therefore winemaking takes place in large wineries, which are estates that produce wine from estate-grown grapes.

3)Pressing: this is one of the most delicate moments of winemaking. Essentially this process brings to the extraction of the juice of the grapes by means crushing and squeezing. As a result of the applied pressure, must (grape juice) is released. An important aspect of this procedure is that the pressure must not be too strong since it is important to the taste of the wine that the grape pips (seeds) do not break and release tannins (part of a group of organic substances occurring in plants). Again, in small-scale winemaking this process is done by treading the grapes bare-footed, while in wineries crushing is mechanised.

4)Fermentation: this process already starts while the grapes are crushed since the sugars in the juice come into contact with the yeasts growing on the skins. Yeasts (mainly Saccharomyces) convert most of the sugars in the grape juice into ethanol (alcohol), producing carbon dioxide. Wine is prepared when the yeasts have completely digested the sugar and the alcohol percentage reaches 12-16 %.

Varese Ligure - Bertignana - Moggia di Varese: Mirko Picetti cleaning his grapevines
Varese Ligure - Bertignana - Moggia di Varese: Mirko Picetti cleaning his grapevines
Varese Ligure - Bertignana - Moggia di Varese: Mirko Picetti cleaning his grapevines
Varese Ligure - Bertignana - Moggia di Varese: Mirko Picetti cleaning his grapevines

Traditionally in the vineyard grapevines are either supported by whole trees or by poles made up of tree branches. The most common trees used to support the vines are walnut, maple, elm, and chestnut. In order to tie the vine-shoots to the support poles, long and flexible willow branches are employed. The poles are attached to each other with metallic wires forming a network of rows of vines. Before mechanization, all the operations connected to viticulture were done manually and continued throughout the entire year. Although most of the operations in the vineyard are seasonal (e.g. pruning in winter, harvesting in autumn, etc.), all year long grapevines must be taken care of: the old leaves and branches are cut off, the support poles are secured, the vine-shoots are fastened to the poles, the metallic wires are hauled, etc.

VinhÝsting;Liguria,Italia.
VinhÝsting;Liguria,Italia.
VinhÝsting;Liguria,Italia.
VinhÝsting;Liguria,Italia.
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