Values of the VINISTA:
V – Vine & Terroir: Because that’s where it all starts
I – Identity: We produce distinctive wines, if not the best, at least the most unique ones
N – Nature: We Respect the Nature because it made everything possible
I – Innovation: We embrace innovation and creativity, and seek to push the boundaries of winemaking to create new and exciting wines.
S – Sustainability: We believe in protecting the environment, preserving our natural resources, and ensuring the long-term viability of our industry.
T – Tradition: We prize the Tradition and the Heritage from the previous Generations
A – Authenticity: We represent the most Genuine side of the Douro Valley
From Grape to Glass: The Traditional Process of Making Wine
The art of winemaking has been perfected over centuries, blending tradition and science to create the beloved elixir we enjoy today. From the moment the grapes are harvested to the final step of pouring the wine into a glass, a series of carefully orchestrated steps brings forth the flavors, aromas, and textures that make each wine unique. Let us embark on a journey through the traditional process of making wine, capturing the essence of this ancient craft.
Harvesting is the crucial first step in winemaking. Typically taking place in the autumn months, skilled vineyard workers carefully select the grapes at the peak of ripeness. The decision on when to harvest is critical, as it determines the balance of acidity and sugar in the grapes, ultimately shaping the flavor profile of the wine. In many vineyards, grapes are still harvested by hand, ensuring that only the finest fruit is collected.
Once harvested, the grapes are transported to the winery, where they undergo a process known as destemming and crushing. This step removes the grape stems and gently breaks open the skins, releasing the juice and exposing it to the yeast that naturally resides on the grape skins. Some winemakers may choose to include a period of maceration, where the grape skins are left in contact with the juice for a period of time to extract additional flavors and tannins.
Fermentation is the magical transformation of grape juice into wine. Traditionally, this process occurs in large fermentation vessels, such as oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. The winemaker carefully monitors the temperature, yeast activity, and sugar levels to guide the fermentation process. During fermentation, yeast consumes the sugar in the grape juice, converting it into alcohol and releasing carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
After fermentation, the winemaker faces a crucial decision: to age the wine or bottle it immediately. For wines destined for aging, they are transferred to oak barrels or stainless steel tanks, where they undergo a maturation process that can last months or even years. This aging period allows the wine to develop complexity, refine its flavors, and integrate tannins.
When the winemaker deems the wine ready for bottling, a series of meticulous steps follows. The wine may go through fining and filtration processes to clarify and stabilize it, removing any unwanted sediments. Then, it is carefully transferred into bottles, often with the addition of a small amount of sulfur dioxide to preserve its freshness and protect it from spoilage. The bottles are sealed with corks or other closures, ensuring a tight seal to maintain the wine’s quality over time.
Once bottled, the wines may undergo further aging in the controlled environment of a cellar or winery. This aging can enhance the wine’s complexity, allowing it to develop unique characteristics and flavors that evolve with time. Some wines, however, are meant to be enjoyed young and vibrant, and they are released for immediate consumption.
Finally, the moment arrives when the wine is poured into a glass, ready to be savored and enjoyed. The careful craftsmanship, dedication, and patience involved in the winemaking process culminate in this moment of pleasure. As the wine swirls and releases its bouquet, it invites us to appreciate the harmonious balance of flavors, the subtle notes of fruit, spice, and earth, and the lingering finish that lingers on the palate.
From the grape to the glass, winemaking is a labor of love, blending science, art, and tradition. Each step, from the meticulous harvesting to the patient aging, contributes to the creation of a wine that reflects the vineyard’s terroir, the grape varieties, and the winemaker’s vision. It is this blend of tradition and creativity that makes each bottle of wine a unique expression of the land, the culture, and the human connection to the vine.