The basic components of good wine are good grapes. Ever since winemaking was first established, growers have experimented with methods of improving quality. Different trellis systems, different types of soils, and knowing when to pick the grapes are all important factors in the art of winemaking. After these are established, the winery commences the winemaking process by first crushing the grapes. Regardless of color, all grapes produce clear liquid. Whether the wine will be red, white, or something in between, is decided by the color of the skin on the grapes.
Different colors of wine are created by either leaving or discarding the skins. White wines are pressed to separate them from their skins before fermentation whereas red wines are left to ferment in their skins before pressing. After pressing, the wines are left in oak or steel canteens to mature then are clarified and bottled. Red wine is famous for its tannin quality which gives it a sharp taste and allows the wine to mature. To achieve this desired characteristic, red wine is fermented at much higher temperatures than is white wine and can be aged in wood or stainless steel. The taste of white wine is enhanced by fermenting it just after crushing in stainless steel at low temperatures. This combination of steel and less heat allows the fruit flavors of the wine to emerge. Since the skins of the grapes in the white wine making process are discarded, either red or white grapes can be used to make white wine. Sometimes white wine is moved to oak barrels at a later period during its maturation process. Red and white wine's bitter taste is subdued through a process known as "racking." As the wine is moved from barrel to barrel, oxygen is incorporated to the mix while the fermentation sediments are removed.
Rose wines are achieved by allowing contact between the juices and the skin of the grapes for only a period of several hours. This short time span allows the wine to develop slight coloration while resisting tannin. Another, less expensive, method of making rose wines involves mixing amounts of red and white wine together. Dessert wine is characteristic of its sugary taste. To achieve this quality, the grapes are left on their vines for longer periods of time in order to encourage the concentration of sugar within them. The process of aging is critical for any fine wine. Types of storage systems, such as wood or steel barrels, can have major effects on the final taste of the wine. Wood barrels allows more oxygen to seep through and soften tannin qualities but can also impart wood tannin flavors to the wine. Wines in new wood barrels develop sharper qualities than do wines in older, softer barrels.