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Vineyards and Wineries 101

The sight is a common one in wineries all over the globe. You’ll see extensive fields of grapes growing in rows of vineyards and their sole existence is to produce wine or wine vinegar. However, grape varieties are not clumped up together thinking that just because they are grapes it doesn’t matter what type you plant. Each grape variety is planted in different sections – for example, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. This makes harvesting a lot easier. When harvesting time comes, the workers pick the grapes in different sections so that the grapes are not mixed up as each specific type of grape makes a specific type of wine.

The vineyard is never idle and is usually bustling throughout the year apart from the winter season when the harsh climate causes the vineyards to lay dormant. There is a lot of care that has to go into the care and maintenance of the grapes and the vineyard workers have to constantly provide care to the grapes through the use of fertilizers and checking the grapes for mold or pests which could damage the crop.

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The workforce not only includes laborers to pick the grapes and to make sure that the grapes are well taken care of, but laboratory workers are also included. Their jobs are to evaluate the chemical nature of the bottled wine chemical composition of the ripening grapes, to see if they are ripe and also to check what adjustments are needed once the grapes undergo the pressing process. After the grape juice is pressed, it needs to be checked whether it is suitable to be made into wine.

Nowadays vineyards have changed with the times and many times the wines produced at the vineyards are sold directly at the tasting rooms in the vineyards. Often tours are offered to visitors who get a glimpse into the process of creating wine as well as they are given the opportunity to taste the variety of wine sold there. Larger wineries may not only have the production equipment used in making wine, but they may also have warehouses, bottling lines, tank farms and more.

The wine making process also includes the fermentation of the grapes as well as blending and ageing of the fruit. Larger wineries can either sell their wines to other corporations or have a brand of their own that they commercially sell in stores. This means that there has to be a marketing and sales team. Tasting experts as well as tour guides are used by the larger wineries. Smaller wineries however, usually can only sell to the buyers who visit them such as restaurants from the area. This helps the smaller wineries to cut down the marketing costs and get higher profits which would otherwise have been utilized to spread the word.

winery1There are many wineries from all over the world that attract tourists and visitors by the thousands and it has become quite the trendy thing to do to visit a winery on a nice sunny afternoon for a session of tasting. The inclusion of tours has opened the doors to a whole new side for wineries as this draws visitors looking to have the wine experience – of walking through the vineyards, seeing the grapes on the tree and finally sampling the goods produced. As wines produced and sold at the tasting rooms are always a lot cheaper than the ones found in the stores, it turns out to be quite a money saver for both parties. Wineries and vineyards have progressed and come a long way since 6000 years back, but the purpose of enjoying the alcoholic beverage has remained the same.

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Wine Producers of the World

The World of wine is slowly changing and with it the list of countries that produce wine. We have seen a shift of wine production from traditional wine making countries to new wine countries. Wine is an alcoholic beverage that has been enjoyed by man for thousands of years. It’s mentioned in Biblical posts, in other works of literature and was the ambrosia of the Gods (apart from Nectar). With such a rich and long heritage, it’s time to see where the world of wine is headed to.

France and Italy has always been known as the world’s top producers of wine and have competed for the top spot for many years. Each country produces on average around 45 million hectoliters a year. That’s definitely a lot of drinking! Although this has been a constant trend for many years with Spain coming a distant third, it seems that the picture may be shifting to a different landscape.

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But as there has been a decrease in the consumption of wine in Europe, the production is slowly moving to countries outside of the EU due to an agricultural policy that has subsidies uprooting of the vineyards. This is because there was too much supply and less demand, and to prevent a Wine Lake from happening where the countries would be faced with over production this regulation was kept in place.

Now the production has shifted to locations like the USA, Argentina and South Africa which have upped their production with China also featuring as a big player. The wine production of Europe used to account for 73% of the total wine production in the world which has dropped to 60% in recent years.

Surprisingly, France and Italy used to be the biggest wine consumers in the world, but that number too has declined with the shift moving to the US, China, Russia and Australia. More wine is being exported now to various countries with 40% of all wine being exported compared to the 25% of earlier years. This does mean more diversity in wines for wine drinkers from all over the globe.

As of now the top ten wine producing countries in the world are France, Italy, Spain, USA, China, Argentine, Australia, Chile, South Africa and Russia. Wine needs the right combination of water and soil types for grapes to produce the best wine. Climate plays a huge role in determining the quality of wine that is produced and wine is grown on all the continents of the world barring Antarctica.

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France, the leading producer of wines has a large amount of wine growing regions like Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne to name a few. The wines grown in these regions are so famous that they take the name of the region itself. The wine itself is divided into many types according to the environment around in which it is grown. From the more common pinot noir and chardonnay to the more rare qualities like ice wines that need very specific conditions to produce their unique taste, wines have been enjoyed by people from all over the globe.

Wine is not only to be enjoyed with a light meal, it is a social drink that is associated with class and has been collected by collectors from all over the globe. A bottle of wine produced decades and even hundreds of years back not only hold their value but far exceed it, as the rarity of having one exist for so long makes it very valuable. Wines normally can be consumed up to fifty years after its manufacturing or bottling but that may be pushing it – after all, you want to enjoy your drink, not have vinegar with dinner.