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The Wine Works Winemaking Process

The process of making wine is simple.  It’s natural, ancient and while the first wines predate written history — it was likely discovered by accident!

Take something sweet — like fruit — expose it to the air and leave it for long enough.  Eventually, you will have wine. However, if you leave a few grapes in a bowl on the counter, don’t expect the final result to be very enjoyable.

Making a good wine takes a little bit more effort.  The good news is it’s been done for thousands of years and now we have a pretty good idea of how to turn juice into an exceptional, delicious wine you can enjoy with friends and family.  The hardest part is choosing which wine to make!

After you have selected a wine to make, there are a series of steps we go through here at Wine Works to turn your ingredients into the final product.

Starting The Wine

The first step in making the wine is to mix all of the ingredients together to create the wine you desire.  This includes adding juice and a bit of water, with different wines also requiring additional grape skins or oaks.  After mixing it all together in a 30L bucket lined with a food grade bag, the yeast is added in the mix to start the process of fermentation.  

Adding juice into a food-grade bag within a 30L bucket. The first steps of a new wines journey!

Primary Fermentation

The ‘Primary Fermentation’ is simply the first stage of the wines journey.  During this stage your wine will sit seemingly still for approximately 2 weeks — but inside this is when your wine undergoes the largest transformation.  By the end of the two weeks, most or all of the sugary juice will have been converted into alcohol and wines will be ready for the next step in the process.

Racking

At the end of the primary fermentation, the wines are transferred into a carboy using a siphon and hose, leaving behind the unwanted byproducts of the previous stage.  With the help of gravity, your wine is transferred into its new home for the next 2-4 weeks. After all the wine is transferred into the carboy, a rubber bung and airlock are used to seal the wine away from outside oxygen, while allowing any gasses produced by the wine to escape.

Barry racking a white wine, transferring from the primary fermentation into the secondary.

Degassing, Stabilizing & Clearing

During the several weeks in it’s new home, your wine undergoes several important steps on its journey to your glass.

Soon after racking, when all of the sugars have converted into alcohol completely, it’s important to ‘de-gas’ the wine. Using a drill attachment our team spins a plastic blade through your wine to release the gas built up inside the wine. During this step our team carefully monitors how much gas is being released, avoiding potential volcano-like eruptions.

Once the gas has been released from the wine, it’s time to stabilize. Our team stabilizes your wine by adding several ingredients to ensure your wine can protect itself against future microorganism invaders.  It also helps to control oxidation, effectively ‘stabilizing’ your wine for the long term.

Lastly, your wine is cleared using the last ingredients in the process (one of which is a shellfish derivative).  These ingredients help any remaining particles in the wine settle to the bottom, leaving your wine looking crystal clear.  After your wine is cleared and the secondary fermentation is complete, your wine is ready for it’s graduation day.

Secondary Fermentation

The secondary fermentation is where your wine really builds character.  At this stage there may be additional oaks, sweetness or other ingredients to impart flavour added into your wine.  During these final 2-4 weeks, your wine undergoes it’s final transformation.  At the end of these few weeks, your wine is nearly ready to drink.

The secondary fermentation takes place in a food-grade plastic container. On the top is a rubber bung and plastic airlock to allow gas out of the wine while preventing unwanted oxygen from entering.

Filtering

The final step in the process before you get to drink your wine is filtering — it’s the wines graduation day.  The filtering process ensures your wine is completely free of any particles from the fermentation process and nothing ‘settles’ in your bottles, just a completely clear and delicious wine ready to be enjoyed.  During the filtering process we transfer your wine into another new carboy so that the final product is ready to be bottled or bagged.

After your wine has graduated from filtering, you’ll get a call from us to schedule a time for you to come in and bottle or bag your wine, soon after to be enjoyed.

Have More Questions?

If you have any further questions about our process at Wine Works, then all you have to do is ask! Send us an email, or call us at 705-444-5246. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, show you around, or get a wine started with you.