The origins of the cultivation of vine, a typically
Mediterranean tree, are very ancient. From this
tree's fruit, i.e. the grapes, you get through the
alcoholic fermentation of its juice, the wine, a
drink well-known since two thousand years.
You can get a wide range of wines according to the
grapes and the process you follow to change the
grapes' juice into wine: sweet wines, sparkling
wines, new wines and aged wines. As to the latter,
they are usually aged in cellars thanks to preservation
techniques whose purpose is to improve the wine's
Still today the Mediterranean diet includes bread,
pasta, olive oil, wine and vegetables. Both in Italy
and in Europe you cannot have lunch or dinner or
you cannot spend a night out with your friends without
drinking good wine.
KINDS OF WINE
Mainly four steps characterize the working process
of wine: the wine pressing; the must clearing;
the wine ripening in containers of various type
and for different periods according to the kind
of wine you want to get; the wine refinement inside
the bottles. Neverthless each kind of wine (red,
white, rosé, raisin wine etc.) needs special
- RED WINES
You get red wines from black grapes; small amounts
of white grapes are sometimes added to the black
First the grapes are picked from the bunches,
then they are trodden.
During the alcoholic fermentation process the
marcs (i.e. the grapes' peels) are mixed together
with the must for a time going from few days
to two or more weeks: in fact, the prolonged
contact with the marcs increases the release
of tannins which are necessary for wine aging.
In addition the grapes' peel contains further
substances affecting the wine's density, colour
Afterwards the marcs are separated from the
must; the latter is sifted and is decanted into
steel or wooden containers: first the alcoholic
fermentation and then the malolactic fermentation
take place inside them.
Then the wine is decanted again. As far as "D.O.C."
wines are concerned, both ripening time and
kinds of containers are established by specific
- WHITE WINES
You usually get white wines from white grapes
even though some important white wines are got
from the pressing of black grapes.
The main feature of white wines is that grapes
are lightly pressed so that you can get only
the must without marcs; in some cases, such
as Cinque Terre wines, the grapes are mixed
for some time together with the marcs.
The fermentation and the ripening take place
in steel containers in the case of fresh and
fruity wines whereas wooden containers are used
for wine aging.
A recent technology allows the whole process
to take place at low temperatures, in order
to enhance the fragrance of some kinds of grapes.
- ROSE' WINES
Some people think that rosé wines are
the result of mixing white wines with red wines.
It is not true: the typical colour of rosé
wines is due to a very short maceration of black
grapes with the marcs, which are however soon
kept away from the must. It is a delicate process
permitting to get a product whose colour is
neither too much light nor too much dark.
Rosé wines are above all soft wines.
They must be consummed within one year or a
- SPARKLING WINES
You get sparkling wines mainly from white wines
(or from black grapes which have not been mixed
with marcs during the fermentation process);
special yeasts, causing a peculiar fermentation
called "getting froth", are added
to the white wines.
There are two main methods:
- in the Charmat Method (which was
invented by the Italian oenologist
Martinotti) the process of "getting
the froth" takes place in steel
pressure-resistant containers: this
method is exploited both for fragrant
wines such as Moscato or Brachetto
and for semi-dry or dry wines such
- in the Classical Method of French
origin (only in the case of sparkling
wines produced in France in the region
of Champagne you can use the word
"Champenois") the whole
fermentationn process takes place
inside the bottles.
The bottles are corked and put in
"pupitres" at first horizontally
and then they are gradually tilted
and turned by hand so that the fermentation's
impurities can settle in the bottleneck.
After some time the bottleneck is
frozen, the bottle is uncorked and
the frozen deposit of impurities is
taken away; the bottle is filled in
with further wine; finally the bottle
is corked again by using the typical
That kind of elaborate working process
justifies the higher price of sparkling
wines got throughout the "Classical
- NEW WINES
New wines are got by using the carbon maceration
technique: it is based on the pressing of whole
bunches of ripe grapes, which undergo the maceration
process with no oxygen.
In that way you get a product characterized
by strong fruity smell and peculiar fragrance,
lasting however just few months; that is why
this product is put on the market the first
week of November and it should be consummed
before the end of the winter.
- RAISIN WINES
Raisin wines are got from the late wine-making
(usually between January and February) of grapes
which are let wither on the tree itself or on
The must usually ferments in steel containers;
the ripening is completed at first in wooden
containers and then in bottles.
- SWEET WINES
Sweet wines are wines to which alcohol has been
The most well-known Italian sweet wine is Marsala.
You can find on the market raisin sweet wines