Wine is an alcoholic beverage made out of fermented fruit juice, commonly grapes. Different kinds of crushed grapes and various types of yeast produce different types of wine. A noticeable factor about wine is that the natural chemicals in grapes allow it to ferment without any additional sugar, acids, enzymes or other nutrients. A plantation of grape vines grown mostly for wine production is known as a Vineyard. Viniculture or Viticulture is the science and study of vineyard production. France, Italy, and Spain are among the top wine producing nations in the world. There are various types of wine which can be made from other fruits and starch based materials as well. Wines made out of fruits are generally known as “Fruit” wine or “Country Wine" and they can be made out of apples and various berries. Barley wine and Rice wine on the other hand are starch based wines, which have higher alcohol content. The name ‘Wine’ comes from “Winam” of the Proto-Germanic Origin, borrowing the words “Vinum” or “Vine” from Latin. It is considered as one of the oldest and traditional drink thought to have originated around 6000 BC in the present day Iran and Georgia. In the global religious platform, Wine has an important role to play. The drink is represented by most of the Greek and Roman gods. It’s also a part of the Catholic Eucharist ceremonies and the Jewish Kiddush.
Grape wine can be classified by various criteria: by color, alcohol percentage and varietal. By color, wine can be characterized into red, white, yellow, orange, rose or pink, burgundy and sangria. The alcohol percentage can vary in different wines from 10 to 14 percentage.
Types of Wine
By type wine can be categorized into 4 namely:
Origin of Wines
The origin of wine dates back to thousands of years and is closely connected to various civilization, agriculture, cuisines, and traditions. The earliest wine production sites have been retrieved by archeologists in present day Georgia and Iran, which dates back to 6000 to 5000 BC. Historical evidences prove grapevine domestication in the third millennium BC, having early Bronze Age sites near East Sumer and Egypt. In Europe, the evidence of wine production dates back to 4500 BC at an archeological site in Greece. The world’s earliest form of crushed grapes was also found at the same site. Wine was associated with most of the ceremonial events in ancient Egypt. In China, wild wine traces have been found that date back to second and first millennium BC. Grapevines were introduced to India from Persia during the Indus Valley civilization. Viticulture played a vital part in the Roman culture and the province was renowned for wine production. The Roman Catholic Church supported wine production since it was an integral part of their custom and culture. The Romans have introduced wine in most of the present day European regions. Most of the wine making technology improved during the reign of the Roman Empire.
Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Wine Preparation
When wine is made out of grapes, it already includes most of the ingredients like the pulp, juice, acids, tannins, sugar and various minerals. An additional supply of yeast and cane can be used to increase the strength and alcoholic percentage respectively. Sulfur dioxide is generally used to control wild yeast growth. Wine production can be categorized into four main steps – harvesting and crushing the grapes, fermenting the must, ageing the wine, and appropriate packaging. A very important factor while preparing wine is time. This involves plucking the grapes at the right season, removing the must, appropriate checks on the fermentation process, and the proper storage of wine in the cellars for a long time.
There are few things to remember before serving the wine.
- Temperature plays a vital role while serving wines. Red wines can be served at room temperature, while White wines needs to be served chilled.
- Decanting is the process of pouring the wine without transferring the sediments deposited in the wine bottle. Decanting is normally done to provide clean wine.
- Breathing a time span of 20- 30 minutes after serving the wine allows it to provide a difference in the taste. Red wines usually require a breathing time to taste better, it’s advisable to open the bottles ahead of serving time. In order to retain its freshness, White wines needn’t be opened up.
- Glassware made out of plain, thin and clear glass gives the wine a better ambience. A tulip shaped glass is used to serve wine, which allows the drink to swirl and provide a better aroma.
- Fill level of wine in the glass should never cross more than half the full glass.
Different types of Wines
Some of the major types of wine include- Red, White, Sparkling, Fruit or Country, Non-Alcoholic, and Blush. All these major types of wine can be again classified into 2 sections based on the primary grape variety and the geographical area where the grapes are grown. When it is classified on the basis of grape variety it is named as ‘Varietals’ and on the basis of region, it is named for that particular region.
Red wines are made out of black grapes and it can be sweet or light. Black grapes are put for fermentation with their skin and pips. Few major types of red wine are Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.
White wines are made of white or black grapes. White wine flavors can be very dry, sweet and golden in color. There are 5 major white wine categories namely Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. These wines are mostly used in European cuisines.
Sparkling wines include a higher level of Carbon dioxide levels that make them a fizzy drink. White or Rose wines are generally known as sparkling wine but a few varieties of red wine are also available in this category. Champagne can be considered as the best example for a sparkling wine.
Non-Alcoholic wines are processed the same way as normal wines are made, but the alcohol content is filtered out before the wine is bottled. Fruit or Country wines are those wines which are generally made out of fruits other than grapes. It can be made from various berries, banana, apricot, pineapple, mango, peaches and pear.
Health and Nutritional facts of Wines
Researchers have found that the Polyphenols found in red wine has antioxidant properties. It has the capacity to overcome the free radicals that can cause cellular damage, various cancer forms, and heart diseases.
Health Benefits of Special Varietal Wines
Varietal wines are packed with the natural health benefits that are a consequence of the high antioxidant levels in them. Free radicals are constantly attacking the delicate cells and tissues of the human body, the damaging effects of which have been associated with premature aging and occurrence of disease conditions.
The antioxidant power of varietal grapes used in varietal wines arises from their high level of a type of polyphenolic compound called Resveratrol. Polyphenols are essentially natural, plant-based compounds studied for their health benefits. In April 2008, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a new study proving that red grape juice from which varietal wines are derived, may exhibit a direct effect by reducing the risk of heart disease. This is achieved by lowering bad cholesterol (i.e. LDL) and elevating good cholesterol (i.e. HDL) levels.
Resveratrol occurs in the skin of red grapes that are used in varietal wine-making. For instance, Malbec has a thick skin and contains good amounts of resveratrol. It has been noted that Vine grapes that are grown in cooler climates tend to have higher resveratrol levels when compared to those belonging to warmer climates (such as in California and Spain). The varietals with most resveratrol in their wine include Petite Sirah, St. Laurent, Pinot Noir and obviously Malbec.
Proanthocyanidins are phytochemical compounds, essentially polymer chains of flavonoids such as catechins. Also known as OPCs, these are found in several plants and occur in abundance in grape seeds and skin.
The beneficial effects of proanthocyanidins include neutralization of free radicals and oxidants; lowering lipid profile, and preventing the destruction of collagen which is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. Consequently, studies have shown that OPCs may play a significant role in prevention of cardiovascular diseases by countering the negative effects of elevated cholesterol on the heart as well as blood vessels.
Research studies have revealed that Malbec and Tannat grape varieties seem to possess the maximum amounts of OPC and varietals from these in turn offer greatest health benefits.
- The wine in a wine bottle usually measure up to 750 ml, it’s a standard measurement.
- The foot treading is still used to obtain a small quantity of port wines.
Jesus Christ called the Matzo his body and wine his blood. On Maundy Thursday, he broke the bread, dipped it in wine and gave a piece to the person whom he predicted of betraying him. The act is symbolic of the betrayer breaking his body into parts which would be bathed in blood. This meal is called the "Last Supper" and the custom of breaking the bread and drinking wine is observed even today in many churches in remembrance of the Son of God who sacrificed his life for the benefit of mankind.