What actually happens with the grapes when arriving to the wineries?
Image gallery: After the grape harvest
The wine cellar is the realm of the cellarer. It is down to him whether the wine turns out a very good one or a good one.
Once the grapes have reached the winery, they are carefully selected by the cellarer and given into different fermentation vessels following strict quality and weight criteria. The further procedures completely depend on the type of the wine that is to say whether it is a white, red or rosé wine.
With white wines and rosé wines, the juice is immediately pressed off the skins and fermented separately from seeds and stalks.
With red wine, fermentation takes place without separating the juice from the skins which results in different wine structures and colours depending on the type of wine that is produced.
Fermentation generally lasts from 8 to 14 days.
After fermentation, the wine is matured and developed. Most white wines such as the Südtiroler Vernatsch are characterised by a fruity flavour and a crisp bouquet and this is what has to be promoted or developed during maturation.
Ideal for this is a brief maturation period in large wooden vessels or stainless steel tanks.
A longer maturation in both larger and smaller oak vessels - the French barriques - is only suited to a restricted number of white wines as well as rich red wines such as the Lagrein, Pinot Nero, Merlot or Cabernet. After two years of maturation in a wooden vessel they are launched on the market as so-called riservas.
When the appropriate maturation period is over, the wine is finally bottled. Depending on the kind of wine it might be stored for several weeks or months now before it is sold. Some bottles are meant for immediate consumption, others however for further maturation in the cellar.
There is however one basic principle followed by every winery in South Tyrol: The wine is developed without any residual sugar being left. This applies to all South Tyrolean wines, except the specifically marked dessert or sweet wines and the half-dry Gewürztraminer.