When you visit Oklahoma vineyards near me, you can enjoy our state’s beautiful scenery and see where the winemaking process begins. Because of everything involved in the grape growing and winemaking process, many vineyard owners are knowledgeable in both viticulture and enology.
Understanding Viticulture and Enology
What is Viticulture?
Viticulture is the study of vine-growing and grape harvesting. Vineyard owners use viticultural knowledge to keep their grapes healthy by:
- Controlling pests and diseases.
- Fertilizing and irrigating properly.
- Managing the grapevine canopy.
- Monitoring fruit development.
- Pruning the vines in the winter.
By doing all this and determining the right time to harvest, Oklahoma vineyard owners can produce quality grapes for delicious wines.
What is Enology?
While viticulture involves cultivation and harvesting, enology is the study and science behind wines and winemaking. Through a knowledge of enology, winemakers select grapes based on their desirable characteristics to create the best possible wines. This study also gives winemakers a deeper understanding of the production process and wines in general, allowing them to improve the quality of their wines.
Why Enology Is Important at Oklahoma Vineyards Near Me
Because enology does not directly relate to the grape-growing process, it can be easy to assume that it is not always involved at the vineyard. However, since the winemaking process begins with grapes being grown, there is some overlap between enology and viticulture. As such, understanding enology is very important to many vineyard owners – especially if the Oklahoma vineyard produces wine at its own winery.
As it involves the science of wines and winemaking, enology relates to the final product. If the grapes are grown with the intent of creating high-quality wines, the vineyard owner will use enology to consider the qualities of the grapes as they are being grown. This knowledge, combined with viticultural practices, ensures that the vines are kept healthy and the finished wine is the best it can be.
What Else is Involved in the Winemaking Process?
While the winemaking process starts with grape growing, it is only the beginning. Because it helps winemakers determine the best grape characteristics to produce excellent wines, enology helps throughout. When you travel Oklahoma vineyards and wineries, you may have the opportunity to see one of these steps in person:
To produce a fine wine, the grapes need to be harvested at the right time. When everything is perfectly ripe, the vineyard owner or winemaker will pull the grapes from the vine. Before the next step, they will also remove any grapes that are not ideal.
Crushing and Pressing
Once the grapes arrive at the winery, they are crushed and pressed into juice. Modern winemakers use a mechanical presser, which increases efficiency, improves the wine’s longevity, and reduces the need for preservatives.
At this stage, the sugar in the crushed grapes is converted into alcohol. The wine may ferment naturally, or a new yeast strain may be introduced. The alcohol level will vary based on the grape type, the location, and the production methods.
Following fermentation, the wine is racked or siphoned into a new tank or barrel to clean out solids and sediments. Further clarification may be done by filtering or fining the wine. This helps to prepare it for consumption.
Aging and Bottling
There are two primary ways this final step of the process can be done. The wine may stay in its barrel to age and then be bottled, or it will be bottled immediately and then age before it is drunk. The final result will be a quality wine.
Travel Oklahoma Vineyards
Enjoy the natural beauty of our state and learn more about local wines by scheduling a visit to wineries and Oklahoma vineyards near me. Many Oklahoma Grape Industry Council members offer tours and tastings, making it the perfect opportunity to learn more about our industry and find your new favorite wines.