Viniculture is the study or science of winemaking. One who does so is called a viticulturist, enologist, or simply a winemaker.
When one thinks of New England, fall foliage and maple syrup would probably come to mind before wine. The wine industry is a new and rapidly expanding agricultural community in New England. There are approximately 100 vineyards and associated artisan wineries located all around New England with more in the planning stages.
As might be expected of a region whose winters feature harsh, cold weather, many New England wineries got their start making fruit wine. The most common grape wine varieties grown in the region are the vinifera varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris followed by the American Hybrids Vidal Blanc and Cayuga. Most of the wines made in the region will have their start from hybrid grapes – grapes that have been crossed with those in better climes such as California. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as good wine made locally is always a treat.
How is wine made? There are several steps to producing wine, all of which require a lot of trial and error. When visiting a winery, you may get a tour and explanation of the process. Here are the steps in how wine is made:
- Crush the grapes
- Add yeast
- Maceration – soaking the grapes and extracting elements
- Pressing – separating juice from the grape skins
- Racking – siphoning the wine off the sediments
- Fining – removing substances from wine for the purposes of enhancing clarity, color, and taste
- Acid – the acid amount and type are closely monitored and adjusted to get the right taste
Now, after dazzling everyone in your wine tasting tour with your amazing knowledge of the process, bowl them over with your vini-speak in these basic wine terms:
- Bouquet: The smell of the wine.
- Body: The apparent weight—light, medium or full—of the wine in your mouth.
- Breathe: To allow wine to mix with air.
- Finish: The aftertaste or flavor impression left in the mouth after swallowing.
- Fruity: With aromas and flavors of fruit.
- Old World: Classic winemaking countries of Europe.
- Varietal: A wine that uses the name of the principal grape from which it’s made, such as merlot or chardonnay.
- Vintage date: The year a wine was made.
- Capsule: The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle.
- Claret: British name for Bordeaux wine. Is also a semi-generic term for a red wine in similar style to that of Bordeaux.
- Nose: The aroma or bouquet of a wine.
Maybe you’d like to start a local wine club in your area! There are many resources on the web to help you get started. Make a special event for your club with a private tour in the fall when the foliage is at its peak. Wineries will also have some great offerings for the holidays at that time. Happy viniculturing!