About wine

What is Wine?

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made with the fermented juice of grapes.

Technically, wine can be made of any fruit (i.e. apples, cranberries, plums, pomegranate, etc) but if it just says “wine” on the label then it’s made of grapes.

As a matter of fact, you can find out that a bottle of wine consists of 5 glasses of wine (150ml each), or you can say, it contains almost 950g of grapes, which is approximately 520 grapes. On average, a wine has 750 calories and besides water, it contains acids, alcohol, sugar and minerals as iron, nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, fluoride,  sulfur and calcium.

What are Wine Grapes?

Most wine is made with grapes, but they're not like the ones you find in the grocery store. Wine grapes (latin name: Vitis vinifera) are smaller, sweeter, have thick skins, and contain lots of seeds. There are over 1,300 wine grape varieties used in commercial production but only about 100 of these varieties make up 75% of the world's vineyards.

There are thousands of different varieties within the Vitis vinifera species – the most common is Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Origin of the term “Vintage”

Wine grapes take an entire season to ripen and thus, wine is produced just once a year. This is where the term vintage comes from: “Vint” stands for “Winemaking” and “age” implies the year it was made.

So, when you see a vintage year listed on the label, that’s the year the grapes were picked and made into wine. The harvest season in the northern hemisphere (Europe, US) is from August–September and the harvest season in the southern hemisphere (Argentina, Australia) is from February–April.

Occasionally, you’ll find a wine without a vintage listed on the label. Typically, this is a blend of several vintages together; and in the case of Champagne, it will be labeled with “NV” which stands for “Non-Vintage.”

Single-Varietal Wine

A single-varietal wine is made primarily with one type of grape. It’s common to see these wines labeled by the name of that grape variety. For example, a bottle of Riesling is made with Riesling grapes. It’s useful to note that each country has different rules for how much of the variety should be included in order to be labeled as a varietal wine.

Percentage of grapes required to be labeled as a single-varietal wine:

  • 75% USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia, Greece

  • 80% Argentina

  • 85% Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, Moldova

Wine Blend

A wine blend is a wine made with a blend of several grape varieties.

Blending is a traditional method of winemaking, and today there are several famous wine blends produced in classic winemaking regions. Just so you know, most wine blends are mixed together after the fermentation (and aging) is complete. When grapes are blended and fermented together it is called a field blend. A famous example of a field blend is Port wine.

The Taste of Wine

There are several facets that explain wine’s unique flavor: acidity, sweetness, alcohol, tannin, and aroma compounds produced in fermentation.

Acidity: Wine as a beverage lies on the acidic end of the pH scale ranging from as low as 2.5 (lemon) to as high as 4.5 (greek yoghurt). Wine tastes tart.

Sweetness: Depending on what style of wine you drink, sweetness in wine ranges from having no sugar at all to sweet like maple syrup. The term “dry” refers to a wine without sweetness.

Alcohol: The taste of alcohol is spicy, palate-coating and warms the back of your throat. Wine’s average range of alcohol is about 10% ABV (alcohol by volume) to 15% ABV. Of course, there are a few exceptions: Moscato d’Asti is as low as 5.5% ABV and Port is fortified with neutral brandy upping it to 20% ABV.

Tannin: Tannin is found in red wines and contributes to the astringent quality of red wine. Put a wet, black tea bag on your tongue for a great example of how tannin tastes.

Aroma Compounds: Within the tiny minutia of wine (the phenols, esters, higher alcohols, acids, etc) is where you’ll find the complexities to wine’s flavors and aromas. Each grape variety exhibits aroma compounds at different levels. This is why some wines smell like berries and others smell like flowers. Another contributing factor to wine’s aromas is aging. Nearly all red wines are aged in oak, which not only contributes an oak barrel’s flavor compounds (like vanilla) but also acts as a conduit to expose the wine to oxygen. Oxidation and aging produce a range of unique flavors to wine including nuttiness, and dried fruit/flower flavors.

Five Main Types of Wine

All wines can be organized into five basic groups. Within each group there are hundreds of different grape varieties and winemaking techniques.

Red Wine
Still wine made with black grapes. Red wines range from light to bold.

White Wine
A still wine produced from white and occasionally black grapes. Flavors in white wines span from light to rich.

Rosé Wine
Still wine from black grapes produced by removing the skins before they stain the wine deep red. Rosé is also made by blending red and white wine together. Both dry and sweet styles of rosé are common.

Sparkling Wine
A style of winemaking involving a secondary fermentation that makes bubbles! Sparkling wine can be red, white, or rosé and ranges from lean and dry, to rich and sweet.

Dessert Wine
A style of winemaking involving fortifying wine with spirits. Typically, dessert wines taste sweet, but many dry, fortified wines exist, such as dry Sherry.

Source: Wine Folly

Short history of Moldovan Wine

From ancient times, Moldova is recognized as an agricultural and wine-producing region. Wine production is considered the most important in the country. Winegrowing and winemaking in the territory of Moldova dates back more than 4,000 years ago when the Dacians discovered the production of wine from vine. This practice was later developed during the settling of Greeks who shared their winemaking traditions with the locals, and further under the domination of the Roman Empire.

Once the feudal state of Moldova was formed in the 14th century, winegrowing rapidly developed. This branch enjoyed a special success during the ruling of Stefan the Great who imported new sorts of vine. Stefan the Great further stimulated the production of quality wines by establishing a new function of cupbearer (the person responsible for the beverage of the sovereign), whose task was to supervise the vine plantations and the winemakers, in order to guarantee the production of high-quality wine. This rule ensured an additional impulse to the development of the winemaking industry through the expansion of areas for winegrowing, improving technologies and building household cellars for wine storage.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the territory fell under the domination of the Ottoman Empire who forbade winemaking. Thus during the following 300 years, winegrowing and winemaking underwent a huge regress. However, the tradition and success of this period were revived after the signing of the Bucharest Treaty of 1812, when the region became a province of the Russian Empire. The Russian nobility took over the winemaking actives and began to grow in particular local strains, such as Rara Neagra, Plavai, Galbena, Zghiharda, Batuta Neagra, Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Neagra, and so forth. The second half of the 19th century welcomed imports of French wines and the arrival of French winemakers – this is the reason why Moldova enjoys a plethora of vineyards. During this period, certain important winemaking regions in Moldova, such as Purcari, gained worldwide recognition and fame. The winemaking industry was flourishing, and around 1837, Moldova was producing more than 10 million liters per year.

As in the rest of Europe, the wine industry in Moldova suffered from the phylloxera attack at the end of the 19th century. Around 1906, following an abundant use of grafted plantation material, the vineyards recovered, and around 1914, Bessarabia (the territory of current Moldova) proved to be the region of the Russian Empire with the biggest area planted with vine.

The First and the Second World Wars brought the decline of the branch. Many plantations were destroyed, and the industry suffered huge losses. Only following the end of the Second World War the Moldovan vineyards began to recover. Thanks to an enormous re-plantation effort carried out during 1950-1960, the total area of vineyards reached 220,000 hectares. For the next 20 years, Moldova was the most important winemaking republic of the USSR. Every second bottle of wine and every third bottle of sparkling wine was produced in Moldova.

In the middle of 1980s, the Moldovan winemaking industry was painfully hit again. This time by the alcohol consumption interdiction policy, imposed by the head of state of USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev. The plantations were being rooted out in massive quantities, and the wine was destroyed. For Moldova this was a national tragedy. Following the independence of the Republic of Moldova from the Soviet Union in 1991, the winemaking industry began to recover, yet in a very slow and difficult manner.

Since the beginning of privatization in the middle of 1990s, the winemaking companies began investing in modern equipment, planting new areas with popular European strains. Several vine cutting nurseries were created during this period, which traded roots combined with European plantation material.

Source: CBI



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