Welcome to the World of Winemaking! I’m having fun alphabetizing the home winemaking process – you can find the links to the other letters at the end of this post.
Today’s letter is “W“, so let’s have fun!
Can’t do “W” without Wine, right? Wine is, of course, a popular and important beverage that accompanies and enhances a wide range of cuisines, from the simple and traditional stews to the most sophisticated and complex Haute cuisines.
Wine is often served with dinner, and sweet dessert wines may be served with the dessert course. In fine restaurants in Western countries, wine typically accompanies dinner. Wine is also drunk without the accompaniment of a meal in wine bars or with a selection of cheeses (at a wine and cheese party). Or, you know, for fun at home.
Wine is important in cuisine not just for its value as a beverage, but as a flavor agent, primarily in stocks and braising, since its acidity lends balance to rich savory or sweet dishes. Wine sauce is an example of a culinary sauce that uses wine as a primary ingredient.
And remember the first rule of thumb when using wine in your cooking – if it tastes terrible enough you wouldn’t drink it on its own, do not use it in your recipe. Only use wine that you would actually drink, because whatever flavor you like or dislike about that wine, will be embedded in your cuisine.
Water: made of 2 atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen (H2O) water is the main component in wine generally representing over 80% of its composition. This is why wine lovers often say: “save water, drink wine”.
Wood: as mentioned before, oak is the main type of wood used in winemaking. But oak flavors in wine are often referred to as ‘wood flavors’.
Wine Cave: A large cave that is excavated to provide a cool location for storing and aging wine.
Something I would so love to have some day, but I’ll just have to make the basement room I’ll be converting to a wine cellar look like a cave for now.
Speaking of which… next ‘W’, Wine Cellar: A cool, dark location in which wine is stored, often for the purpose of aging.
We talked about temperature for fermentation as well as storing. Hence the reason I’ll be converting the one basement room that has no windows or heat vents into a wine cellar – it’s going to be fun and functional! And the picture above is my inspiration on ideas of how I’d like it to look. I have so many ideas!
Wine fault: No, not a fault like an earthquake waiting to happen, it’s the undesirable characteristics in wine caused by poor winemaking techniques or storage conditions. When your wine is being judged in a winemaking competition, you want to make sure there are no faults! You don’t want the judges making this face:
Winemaking is so much fun – at least for me – and am tickled every time I give the wine I make as gifts to friends and family who love drinking it as much as I love making it. While we go through this alphabetical series on winemaking, if you have any burning questions, be sure to ask them in the comments below, and I’ll reply there – and maybe even highlight your specific question(s) in a future post!
Thanks for joining me in this fun adventure!
Here are the links going backwards for your convenience, in case you missed any:
A for Aromas, Acidity and Appearance
B for Barrels, Bottles and Blackberry Wine
C for Color, Clarity, Carboys and Cherry Wine
D for Decanting and Decanters
E for Equipment
F for Fermentation
G for Glass and Grape
H for Harvest
I for Infusion
J for Jeroboam and Jug
K for Kabinett
L for Leaf, Label and Lees
M for Merlot, Muscat and Must
N – the Nose has it!
O for Oak and Oxidation
P for Palate and Press
Q for Quality
R for Racking and Riddling
S for Sweet and Sanitary
T for Taste and Tasting
U for Ullage
V for Verjus