Dazed and Confused

One of my non-wine friends approached me the other day and wanted some answers:

“Why are wines so different? I don’t really know what goes into making them or why they’re so varied.”

It’s true. Wines can be very varied and also not particularly consistent – especially compared to other drinks such as vodka or lager. Personally, I find it fascinating that wines always taste different, but I can completely understand why some people may find it frustrating!

Today’s A-Z of Wine Terms is F


For Factors. As there are many different factors which can affect what a wine tastes like.

Let’s start at the beginning of the process: wine is made from grapes, so the grape variety you choose to make your wine from will influence what your wine tastes like.

Once you’ve chosen your grape variety then you have to think about where you want to plant it.

What country?

What sort of climate?

What kind of soil type?

When you’ve made those decisions then you can start growing your grapes to make wine. But hang on – a grapevine is exposed to the elements and completely at the mercy of them. So if it won’t stop raining or it won’t rain at all, then this is going to influence what your grapes turn out like, and in turn how your wine turns out too.

You can do various things with your grapevines in the vineyard to affect flavour and quality too.

Finally once you’ve managed to battle through all these decisions you’ve finally got your grape juice which you need to turn into wine. Winemaking is actually a highly scientific process from start to finish, and any adjustments that the winemaker decides to make will influence how your wine tastes. The most obvious example being whether your wine has been matured in oak barrels or not.

When you start taking all these things into account then you can begin to understand why wines can vary so much. Personally I know lots about wine and while I can roughly guess what a wine will taste like, I won’t know exactly what it tastes like until I open it and try it. That’s all part of the fun!

P.S. Greg – I hope this answers your question

4 thoughts on “Dazed and Confused

  1. Thanks Julia
    That was very insightful!
    I shall take all of that into consideration next time I crack open a bottle of red.

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