Six Things You Should Know About Wine

1st Oct 2019

Wine is a very particular delicacy. During ancient times, when the grapes were ripe, they would fall onto the ground exposing a little juice from the fruit. The yeast from the air would then come into contact with it, thus fermenting the fruit and turning it into wine. The Greeks and Romans were so amazed by wine, they were convinced it was a gift from the God Dionysus. Today wine has become a staple in modern society, but the fermentation process has never lost its roots

The taste of wine varies due to several factors. Those factors include the type of grape used, storage and drinking methods. Unlike other fruits, after grapes are harvested, they will not continue to ripen. Therefore, the timing at which the grapes are harvested is very important. Alchema takes the craft of wine very seriously, so we decided to share some answers to questions that are frequently asked.


What is the difference between grapes you see in the supermarket and grapes used for wine production?

An important note to know is that grapes from the supermarket are not the same as grapes used for making wine. Grapes from the supermarket are larger and it has more flesh, some are also seedless. Grapes that are used for winemaking are much smaller, the skin is thicker, and seeds are present. The seed adds the tart flavor to the wine. Generally, wine grapes are much sweeter than regular grapes. The reason for this is because sugar is the raw ingredient needed to help the yeast create alcohol.

The other difference between wine grapes and regular grapes is also the way that it is planted. Wine grapes can be grown in hot and cold places, but the taste of the grape differs. Wine grapes grown in hotter climates contain less water making it a lot more concentrated, while in colder climates the taste is tart and crisper. Grapevines can last for around 60 years. Traditionally, wineries prefer to use younger grapevines to make white wine because it is more acidic, while they use older vines to make red wine because it is sweeter.


What is the difference between red and white wine?

The main difference between the two is the color. One could be forgiven for thinking that a different type of grape is involved, but it is much simpler than that. One type of wine contains the grape skin during the fermentation process, while the other does not. Grape skin acts as a natural dye, therefore it is present during the fermentation of red wine, but not during the fermentation of white wine. This is also the reason why one tastes different than the other despite it being made from the same ingredient. Grape skin contains tannin which contributes to the richer taste in red wine. Tannin also helps preserve the wine, this is the why red wine tastes better than white wine as time goes on. An important thing to know is that the thicker the color of the wine, as it gets older, the better it will taste.

Here are some examples:

Cabernet Sauvignon: A type of wine that is extremely popular around the world. The skin peel is very thick thus contains a lot of tannins. When the wine is young, it can be very sour, but as time goes on it becomes very smooth. This type of wine is mainly produced in Bordeaux, France.

Pinot Noir: From the Burgundy area in France, this type of wine differs from Cabernet Sauvignon. A lot more sour but still a very elegant flavor. There is also a hint of raspberry or strawberry. The grapes this wine uses is very difficult to grow.

Chardonnay: A very popular white wine around the world, simply because the drink can go well with anything. The taste differs though, depending on where the wine was produced, wherein warmer climates the wine tastes a little sweeter but in colder climates, it is a little tart.

Riesling: A German type of wine coming from the Rhine region. The Riesling is a little dry but has a sweet taste. There is a strong presence of almond and the flavor is very fresh.


Why is the grape skin bitter? 

The grape skin, seed and stem have a tannin component that reacts with the protein of the grape giving off a sour taste. During the fermentation process, the tannin is extracted from the grape. Tannin brings a natural oaky taste and is widely considered to be the “soul” of the wine. A fun fact to know is that when wine ages in oak barrels, the tannin from the oak adds more flavor.

What is the difference between using crushed grape and grape juice?

Both are used but for different types of wine. Traditionally red wine uses crush grape so that the taste is heavier. Using crushed grape allows the pomace and the juice to be involved during the fermentation process giving off a richer taste. Grape juice is used for fermenting white wine because we don’t want to include the peels or pomace in the process.


Would the Kyoho grape from Japan be considered a wine grape?

The origins of the Kyoho grape is very interesting. Yes, it is considered a wine grape but the Japanese are not big fans of sour-tasting alcohol. Therefore, they add more sugar during the fermentation process so that the drink will taste sweeter. When the Japanese occupied Taiwan, they used the country as their sugar industry. So, a lot of the Kyoho wine that was produced, was produced in Taiwan.


What are the characteristics of wines made with Alchema?

The ingredients that Alchema uses is primarily fresh fruit, very unique in comparison to commercially available red wine. The fresh fruit wine is fruitier and less alcoholic, giving it a smoother taste. The beverage also manages to find that perfect balance between tart and sweet, making it a delightful drink. Fresh fruit wine goes very well with barbeques or a marvellous steak dinner. Using the Alchema is easy and efficient, all that needs to be done is preparing the ingredients. 

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