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Fermentation refers to the conversion of sugar to alcohol. When a grape is crushed, the natural sugar inside the grape reacts with the natural yeasts on the skins. The yeast consumes the sugars and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide ; thus begins the process of turning grapes to wine. We can also assume that the more sugar present in the grapes, the more alcohol there will be in the resulting wine so long as the process is allowed to continue to completion.

Yeast exists naturally on grapes and grapevines, which is why fermentation occurs with no intervention, but winemakers may also add yeasts to better control the process.

How the Wine is Made? Winemaking is a lengthy procedure, and different processes are used for different grapes and blends. Observing the different processes in creating red and white wine reveals a significant feature about the wine itself. White wine is made by picking the grapes, crushing and pressing them to extract the clear juice, and then removing the skins from the batch before fermentation.

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Champagne AOC creation of the Champagne controlled designation of origin after phylloxera

The process for making red wine is slightly different. While the juice of red grapes is also clear, the skins remain mixed in during the fermentation process, and left to macerate, which means to ferment while still in contact with the skins. This is done so the juice can adopt more of the color and tannins from the grape skins.

Yeast is added to the mix during fermentation.

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Natural yeast was once used, but now most vineyards use manufactured yeasts to ensure a more predictable end result. Fermentation is generally executed in large stainless steel or even concrete vats, as oak barrels tend to be much more expensive. Fermentation is a very precise business; the liquid must be brought up to the correct temperature, which is usually around 56 degrees or above.


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Too hot a temperature results in loss of flavor, whereas too cold and the fermentation process could come to a complete halt. Fermentation time can vary from a few days to a few weeks, depending on which type of wine is being made. After fermentation is complete, the wines are filtered and refined, also known as clarification and stabilization, to remove any debris, and finally bottled. Grapes have become the standard for wines for two reasons. First, there is an acid found in grapes but not other fruits, which preserves the juice for decades or even centuries.

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Second, there is much more sugar in grapes than in other fruits, which helps to produce stronger wines because almost all the sugar is transformed into alcohol. Champagne is a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France following rules that demand secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation.

Some use the term champagne as a generic term for sparkling wine, but many countries reserve the term exclusively for sparkling wines that come from Champagne and are produced under the rules of the appellation. Sparkling wine can be made from almost any grape, but true Champagne must be made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier in the Champagne region of France.

The Rules of Champagne

Grapes are harvested earlier than usual about weeks so that the balance of sugar low and acidity high are at their optimum levels. What makes it bubble? This final solution results in a cheap and cheerful but coarser sparkling wine. So enjoy Champagnes with the subtle tiny bubbles, and avoid sparkling wines with large bubbles that look more like ginger ale. A new pruning method was introduced, along with new ways of trellising, pinching-back, etc. By , the once 60,strong hectare vineyard had been reduced to a handful of selected sites covering just 12, hectares.

Following the lawsuits won by the Champagne Houses in the 19th century, the name Champagne was exclusively reserved for wines harvested and produced in Champagne. But the precise limits of the area in question remained to be defined. Meanwhile, in the absence of regulation, new and unscrupulous producers began sourcing wines from other areas.

Definition and law

On 22 July a law was passed defining the zone of Champagne production. The judicial decision rested on traditional land usage: An interdepartmental commission was appointed to consider lists of eligible plots vineyard sites submitted by villages. By establishing a delimited zone based on consensus, the approach had its merits, whatever shortcomings may have arisen in the years that followed. The law of also established the first Champagne quality rules. The only authorised vine stocks were those traditionally grown in Champagne: But the real battle for quality came a few years later in the period following massive over-production and a slump in sales that sent the price of grapes tumbling.

In response to demand from growers, a special decree was passed on 30 September specifying further quality measures relating to:. With vineyards in crisis throughout France, French wine-growing associations called on the Government to support their drive to regulate and develop certain appellations, monitor production and prosecute cases of fraud.