Most of us know that wine comes from grapes that are aged. But have you ever wondered what helps the grape age properly and why red wines need more time to age than white wines? The process of aging starts immediately after the grapes are picked, crushed and pressed. The grapes are then put into an oak barrel or steel vat, with some winemakers preferring to add oak chips to the vat. During the aging process acids, sugar and tannin interact. By having more tannin present the winemaker is able to age the wine for a longer period without fear of oxidation. This along with temperature, light conditions, and alcohol complete the aging process.
Wines age faster with a warmer temperature. So the winemaker tries to maintain a cool stable 55-65 degree temperature in a dark area as the ideal aging atmosphere. A big fluctuation in temperature or light conditions on a daily or weekly basis is detrimental to a good wine. Now why are red wines aged more than white wines? A simple explanation is that all grapes are white inside, which means that red wine needs to allow the exterior skin to mix with the interior when being crushed to give it the red color. This mixture contains tannin, which also aids the aging process significantly. You also get tannin from the oak sides of the barrel.
Compounds within these, known as phenolics, allow the wine to age longer while keeping the wine from oxidizing. So the red wine is able to age longer and develop a more full flavored bold taste. White wines have these same compounds but at much lower levels. This is because the inside of the grape is what wine manufacturers mostly use and by not using as much of the exterior skin less tannin is present. This results in a considerable shorter aging process than a vat with a large amount of tannin present.
Attempting to age most white wines over an extended period causes it to flatten and lose some of its aromatic freshness. So go ahead and save that special red wine for your Grandchild's marriage, but be sure to serve the white wine within two or three years. Wines go through the above process to be ready for consumption. Next the wine is bottled and stored in wine cellars to finish the ageing process. Most wines are consumable when the purchased.
The main reason is because no one expects to plan the dinner menu for that special party two or three years in advance in order to age the correct wine for the occasion. And how many people have a wine cellar to complete the aging process of their favorite wine? Wine is also used in religious ceremonies in many cultures. The Bible mentions wine no less than 191 times. The references in both testaments often admonish the reader to use wine, but to use it properly and not to misuse it.
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida. Get personalized wine bottles at http://www.winebottlespersonalized.com