How do you differentiate a fine wine from a every day drinking wine. This question is not only hard to explain let alone write about a method of finding a true distinction between the two. It is said in many circles that wine is what the consumer thinks and likes about a certain wine. In essence this is true, however as there is a difference between a cheap cigar and a handmade one out of special tabacco leaf so is it with wines and this requires knowledge of the product.
Why do we than have such a huge difference in pricing in wines, you could buy a red Shiraz at Aldi for $3 and than you could by a Barolo anywhere from $60 to $600, not to mention a Bordeaux wine for anything up to $10,000. To give you some idea this is what happens in the production of these cheap wines: grapes are not hand picked, I have known grapes to be harvested at 8 am in the morning spend 4 hours in the back of the truck in the journey to the processors. Then these grapes are mixed with many other producers’ grapes and turned into a finished wine in a matter of weeks, with all the flavours artificially added, oak, chocolate, berry, leather, cigar box and roses etc. There are also now wines made not from grapes but chemically formed to look and taste like the real thing, hundreds of containers are being shipped to China every week.
A true fine wine grape has 80% of the vigneron’s total time spent in tending the vines and grapes in the vineyard to produce a superior fine wine. The grapes are hand picked and cleaned of any leaves and bad grapes before being laid gently into the basket. (Figure 1)
Time between picking and crushing is no more that 45min. For some of the very expensive wines, the grapes are picked individually off the bunch as it ripens. A bunch could be picked repeatedly up to 7 times before all of the grapes are used. (Figure 2) These are very carefully treated and go through a washing process to remove
any pesticides or microorganisms including sterilization. All this is only a small part of why this wine will be a fine wine, also of course is the type of grape, the root stock type, the clone and area exposed to weather along with degrees of the slope and soil.
In my previous Blog you can read about the process that is required to produce the end product after many years.