Vine to Table – The Voyage of Long Island Wine
Posted by Amanda
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Many people simply go to the store and pick out their favorite wines. The only consideration is what kind of meal they will be having it with. There is never much consideration about the process going into making the wine. The Long Island wineries are a great way to understand this process of vine to table. The wineries allow you to see the process first hand so that there is no confusion about where the wine comes from and how it is made.
Watching the wine being made allows you to feel closer to the wine you are drinking. Those who have visited their favorite winery can swear that they can taste the wine better as a result. At least you will be able to reflect on your trip to the winery with every sip of the wine.
Developing the Land
Before a vine can even be planted, the land itself must be tilled and prepared. The soil must be tested for mineral and nutrient contents. If necessary the vintner will need to incorporate certain elements into the soil to create the right kinds of growing conditions for the vines to grow. In some cases, the land will not even be ready to plant any grapes for the first year that the winery is in operation. This is why the investment into an operational winery is such a big investment to be made.
Once the soil is ready to start growing, it is necessary to plant the vines. The majority of wineries start with cuttings to get started. Bringing in sections of vines from other wineries allows the vintner to plant even old vines successfully. It is a great way to bring along all of the old-world grapes into the new world so they can be enjoyed by a new generation of oenophiles.
Growing and Cultivating
The process of growing the grapes to be used in the wines is a careful one. The vines must be inspected by hand every day for any signs of disease or rot. Too much sun exposure or signs that the vines are not getting enough sun means it is time for a change. Trellises are needed to make sure that the vines are growing upwards away from the ground. This makes it where the vines are suspended off of the ground rather than being on the ground. The vines experience less rot this way.
Part of inspecting the vines is sampling the grapes themselves. This is a process just as much done by taste as it is using a refractometer. This provides the brix measurement, or the °Bx. The sugar content in the grapes is an indicator of how ripe they are. Getting the right sugar content makes it possible to get the right kind of wine from the finished product. Only with the right levels of sugar in the grape is it possible for successful fermentation to happen.
Once the grapes have been harvested, they are immediately crushed and made into wine. In order to get the right kind of wine, it is important to pay attention to the process by which even the juice is removed. When making the white wines, care is taken to filter the juice to get rid of the skins. When making red wine, the filtration happens later in the process because the skins need to be in the wine to get the tannins and the right color. Barreling is necessary to allow the wine to mellow and ferment. After barreling, the wine is put into wine bottles, corked and shipped or sold right at Long Island wineries for you to enjoy.