To get a great wine you need a great grape with the right ratio of sugars and acids. A good enologist must know when to order the harvest. There are two kind of maturation to keep under control: the technologic and the phenolic. The first is given by the ratio acid/sugar, the second is about the concentration of phenolic substances of grapes, situated in the skins and seeds. This type of maturation takes into account the ‘accumulation of anthocyanins and tannins and their solubility. In general we can say that when the skin is able to issue the largest number of phenolics components we have the right maturation. Is possible to check the maturation crunching the seeds, if they are crispy we reached it.
The grape must be picked gently to avoid breakage of the berries which would cause a premature fermentation. For the same reason it’s placed in small crates and the harvesting happens during the cooler hours.
Than all the grapes are selected, manually or using machines, in order to send them to the stemmer that takes off any single acinus from the stem (destemming process). Crushing is the procedure where the berries are pressed gently in order to break the peel to extract what is inside. Destemming and Crushing can happens at the same time or in two different phases, it depend by the choices of the producer.
Now it’s necessary to differ the production of red wines from withe.
In red production the must is kept with the peel (macerazione) so that the tannic substances, the color provided by anthocyanins and the aromas are transferred to the juice. Thanks to the yeasts starts the fermentation, the process where sugar is transformed in alcohol, CO2 and heat. This process pulls up the grape skin which in italian has the name of “cappello” (hat), forming a surface strata. In order to avoid mold and mix the skin with the must to improve the characteristics the “cappello” can be mixed again with the juice using different techniques. “Follatura” is when sticks are used to stir the must. Rimontaggio is a process where a pump sucks the must from the bottom to pour it from above. Last technique is called bloccaggio: the skins are kept sinked in the must from a net.
When the enologist decides to stop the maceration he cleans the must from the residue and put it in tuns. Here start the vinification.