Portal:Wine

W i n e

A portal dedicated to wine

The Wine Portal

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Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermentation of grape juice. The natural chemical balance of grapes is such that they can ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Although fruits other than grapes can also be fermented, the resultant wines are normally named after the fruit from which they are produced (for example, apple wine) and are known as fruit wine (or country wine). Others, such as barley wine and rice wine (e.g. sake), are made from starch-based materials and resemble beer more than wine; ginger wine is fortified with brandy. In these cases, the use of the term "wine" is a reference to the higher alcohol content, rather than the production process. The commercial use of the word "wine" (and its equivalent in other languages) is protected by law in many jurisdictions. Wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast which consume the sugars found in the grapes and convert them into alcohol. Various varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts are used depending on the types of wine produced.

Wine stems from an extended and rich history dating back about 8,000 years and is thought to have originated in present-day Georgia or Iran. Wine is thought to have appeared in Europe about 6,500 years ago in present-day Bulgaria and Greece and was very common in ancient Greece and Rome; the Greek god Dionysos, and his Roman counterpart Liber represented wine. Wine continues to play a role in religious ceremonies, such as Kiddush in Judaism and the Eucharist in Christianity.


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Fermenting must
The process of fermentation in wine is the catalyst function that turns grape juice into an alcoholic beverage. During fermentation yeast interact with sugars in the juice to create ethanol, commonly known as ethyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide (as a by-product). In winemaking the temperature and speed of fermentation is an important consideration as well as the levels of oxygen present in the must at the start of the fermentation. The risk of stuck fermentation and the development of several wine faults can also occur during this stage which can last anywhere from 5 to 14 days for primary fermentation and potentially another 5 to 10 days for a secondary fermentation. Fermentation may be done in stainless steel tanks, which is common with many white wines like Riesling, in an open wooden vat, inside a wine barrel and inside the wine bottle itself like in the production of many sparkling wines.



Selected person

Jean-Louis Vignes
B. April 9,1780 – d. January 17, 1862

Jean-Louis Vignes, or as he was known to his Spanish and Mexican neighbors, "Don Luis del Aliso", was a French settler to the Los Angeles area during the Mexican era. He was the first commercial wine maker in California and one of the first men to import and plant European Vitis vinifera grapes in the state. A skilled cooper by trade and an adventurer and entrepreneur by choice, he arrived in the Sandwich Islands on July 6, 1827 from Béguey, a village downriver from Cadillac, Gironde, France. After losing his business in Honolulu, he sailed to California and landed at El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de la Porciúncula in 1831. Upon his arrival, he bought 104 acres of land located between the original Pueblo and the banks of the Los Angeles river. Vignes proceeded to plant vines and to build a winery. Unhappy with the quality of the local Mission grapes, he imported Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc vines from Bordeaux In 1834, Vignes also planted one of the first orange groves in the Los Angeles area. By 1849, El Aliso, as Vignes' property was called, was the most extensive vineyard in California. Vignes owned over 40,000 vines and produced 150,000 bottles, or 1000 barrels, per year. In 1850, Vignes was the largest wine producer in California.



Selected winery

Groot Constantia
Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate in South Africa and national monument in the suburb of Constantia in Cape Town, South Africa. "Groot" in Dutch translates as "great" (as in large) in English.

Groot Constantia was established in 1684 by the VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope Simon van der Stel, and was used to produce wine as well as other fruit and vegetables and cattle farming. Following Van der Stel's death in 1712 the estate was broken up and sold in three parts.

In 1778 the portion of the estate surrounding Van der Stel's Cape Dutch-style manor house was sold to the Cloete family, who planted extensive vineyards and extended and improved the mansion by commissioning the architect Thibault. The house remained in the possession of the Cloete family until 1885, during which period the estate became famous for its production of Constantia dessert wine.

In 1885 Groot Constantia was purchased by the government of the Cape of Good Hope and was used as an experimental wine and agricultural estate. Following a disastrous fire in 1925 the house was extensively restored. In 1969 the manor house became part of the South African Cultural History Museum, and in 1993 the estate passed into the ownership of the Groot Constantia Trust. The exhibition in the house is managed by Museums of Cape Town, and is particularly focused on rural slavery and the life of slaves during the early Cape colonial period.

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Selected grape

Tempranillo grapes
Tempranillo is a variety of black grape widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano ("early"), a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes. Tempranillo has been grown on the Iberian Peninsula since the time of Phoenician settlements. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain's noble grape. Grown early in the 20th century to produce jug wines in California, toward the end of the 20th century Tempranillo enjoyed a renaissance there and throughout the world as a fine wine. The grape has been planted in Mexico, New Zealand, South America, United States, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Turkey and Canada.

Often blended with Grenache and Cariñena (known in Rioja as Mazuelo), Tempranillo is bottled either young or after several years of barrel aging. In Portugal, it is blended with others to produce port wine. Often growing its best at higher altitudes, the grape yields wines that are ruby in colour, with aromas and flavours of berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and herb.

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Selected quote

Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Othello II. iii. (315)


Did you know...

...that the compound 4-ethylphenol, produced by the spoilage yeast Brettanomyces, can make wine smell like band-aids?
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Selected picture

Sprinklers in vineyard in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige (Italy)
Credit: Marek Ślusarczyk (Tupungato)

Sprinklers in vineyard in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige (Italy)


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The following entries are categories relating to Wine:

Wine


Wine Lists

Topics relating to Wine

AppellationOenologyWineryWinemakingWine tastingVintageVinyardViticulture
Wine styles Red/WhiteRosé/BlushSparklingDessertFortifiedFruitIce Wine
Notable varietals AlbariñoChardonnayChenin blancGewürztraminerGrüner veltlinerMuscatPinot blancPinot grisRiesling
Sauvignon blancSémillonSilvanerViognierBarberaCabernet FrancCabernet SauvignonCarignaneDolcetto
GamayGrenacheMalbecMerlotMourvèdreNebbioloPetite Sirah/DurifPetit VerdotPinot noirPinotage
SangioveseSyrah/ShirazTempranilloZinfandel
Notable regions BordeauxBurgundyCaliforniaChampagneDouroMoselRheinhessenRhôneRiojaTuscany
Notable nations ArgentinaAustraliaChileFranceGermanyItalyPortugalSpainSouth AfricaUnited States of America


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