Part two of our introduction to wine takes a look at styles of wine. There are three major factors which affect the final taste and styles of the wine.
- Variety - There are 3000 different varieties of vitis vinifera used, each with subtle or drastic finalized flavours when compared to the rest.
- Climate - Perfect conditions would be cold winters that rest the vines and kill pests with mild, warm springs and little rain, punctuated with warm settled periods during flowering. Hot sunny summers to heighten the sugar and ripen the grapes with some rain. Be wary of frost, snow and wind as they damage or kill vines.
- Soil - Rich soils can produce either high yields of low quality wine, or low yields of very fine quality wined, with the different colors of grapes preferring different soils. Whites, enjoy the bright chalky or limestones in their soils while red grapes prefer the darker granite or clay.
Known as the vintage. Fruit is either hand picked or machine harvested. By hand, it can benefit by more careful selection. Machine harvesting can be used on flat vineyards, as it is faster and cheaper than the hand picking methods, and can be accomplished at night. The downside to machines is that more grapes are damaged from the inaccuracy.
Pests and Diseases
Aside from the usual weeds, deer, rabbit and birds, wine grapes have must to fear from various other pests such as grape berry moths, red spiders, and wasps. Also plaguing them are the various diseases that can choke off vines and grapes.
- Powdery Mildew - A fungus that leaves white deposits on new and developing grapes which split and shrivel. Spraying with sulfur at flowering time prevents this.
- Downy Mildew - Fungus that thrives in damp, humid conditions, leaving oily, transparent patches on the leaves. Spraying with copper sulfate, lime and water prevents this.
- Grey Rot - A fungus called Botrytis Cinerea attached the vine in humid conditions, covering the leaves with grey mold. It destroys color pigments in black grapes and gives a bad taste to the wine. It is controlled by anti rot sprays.
- Noble Rot - A good form of the fungus Botrytis Cinerea. A shriveled grape has high sugar levels, so thin skinned grapes in the vein of semillon and riesling produce the worlds' greatest sweet wines from the noble rot.