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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Wine

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WINE (Lat. vinum, Gr. oivos), a term which when used in its modern sense without qualification designates the fermented product of grape juice. The fermented juices of other fruits or plants, such as the date, ginger, plum, &c., are also termed wine, but the material from which the wine is derived is in such cases also added in qualification. The present article deals solely with wine derived from the grape (see Vine) .

1 Historical

2 Wine-making

3 Fermentation

4 Treatment of Diseases

5 Plastering

6 Gironde (Bordeaux) Wines

7 Medoc

8 Palus and Entre-deux-Mers

9 Wines of the Centre and North

10 Vinification

11 Diseases

12 Port Wine Trade

13 Other Portuguese Wines

Historical

The art of viticulture or wine-making is a very ancient one. In the East it dates back almost as far as we have historical records of any kind. In Egypt and in Greece the introduction of wine was ascribed to gods; in Greece to Dionysus; in Egypt to Osiris. The Hebrews ascribed the art of wine-making to Noah. It is probable that the discovery that an intoxicating and pleasant beverage could be made from grape juice was purely accidental, and that it arose from observations made in connexion with crushed or bruised wild grapes, much as the manufacture of beer, or in its earliest form, mead, may be traced back to the accidental fermentation of wild honey. In ancient times the cultivation of the vine indicated a relatively settled and stable form of civilization, inasmuch as the vine requires a considerable maturation period. It is probable, therefore, that viticulture was introduced subsequent to the raising of cereal crops. The Nabataeans were forbidden to cultivate the vine, the object being to prevent any departure from their traditional nomadic habits. The earliest examples of specific wines of which we have any record are the Chalybon wine, produced near Damascus, in which the Phoenicians traded in the time of Ezekiel (xxvii. 18), and which at a later date was much appreciated by the Persian kings; and the wines from the Greek islands (Chios, Lesbos, Cos). With regard to the introduction of the vine into other parts of Europe, it appears that it was brought to Spain by the Phoenicians, and to Italy and southern Gaul from Greece. In the earliest Roman times the vine was very little cultivated in Italy, but gradually Rome and Italy generally became a great wine country. At a later date the republic sought to stimulate its home industry by prohibiting the importation of wine, and by restricting its cultivation in the colonies, thus preserving the latter as a useful market for Italian wines. According to Pliny, Spanish, Gallic and Greek wines were all consumed in Rome during the 1st century of the Christian era, but in Gaul the production of wine appears to have been limited to certain districts on the Rhone and Gironde. The cultivation of the vine in more northern parts (i.e. on the Seine and Moselle) was not commenced until after the death of Probus. Owing no doubt to the difficulties of transportation, wine was, in the middle ages, made in the south of England, and in parts of Germany, where it is now no longer produced (cf. Hehn, Culturpflanzen, &c., and Monlmsen, Romische Geschichte, v. 98 et seq.). We know very little of the ancient methods of cultivating the vine, but the Romans-no doubt owing to the luxuriant ease with which the vine grows in Italy-appear to have trained it on trees, trellis work, palisades, &c. The dwarf form of cultivation now common in northern Europe does not appear to have obtained to any extent. It seems likely that the quality of the wine produced in ancient times was scarcely comparable to that of the modern product, inasmuch as the addition of resin, salts and spices to wine was a common practice. With regard to the actual making of the wine, this does not appear to have differed very much in principle from the methods obtaining at the present day. Plastering appears to have been known at an early date, and when the juice of the grapes was too thin for the production of a good wine, it was occasionally boiled down with a view to concentration. The first wine receptacles were made of skins or hides, treated with oil or resin to niake them impervious. Later, earthenware vessels were employed, but the wooden cask -not to mention the glass bottle-was not generally known until a much later period.

Country.

Period.

1891-1895.

1896-1900.

1901-1905.

France. ... .

770

988

1126

Italy

674

689

840

Spain

521

412

390

Portugal

74

123

105

Austria-Hungary. .

113

120

178

Germany

49

64

74

Production.-The total wine production of the world, which, 'of course, fluctuates considerably from year to year, amounts to roughly 3000 million gallons. France and Italy are the chief wine-producing countries, the former generally producing rather more than the latter. During the phylloxera period Italy in some years had the greater output (e.g.1886-1888and 1890-1892). The average production of the chief wine-producing countries will be gathered from the following table: Wine Production. Average Annual Production in Millions of Gallons for Quinquennial Periods. The United States produces roughly 50, Bulgaria and Rumania each 4 o and Servia 10 million gallons. The United Kingdom produces no wine, but the Cape and the Australian Commonwealth each produce some 5 million gallons.

The variation from year to year in the quantity of wine produced in individual countries is, of course, far greater than that observed in the case of beer or spirits. Thus, owing to purely climatic vagaries, the quantity of wine produced in Germany in 1891 was only 16 million gallons, whereas in 1896 it amounted to tit millions. Similarly the French production, which was 587 million gallons in 1895, amounted to no less than 1482 millions in 1900. In the same way the Italian production has varied between 583 million gallons (1895) and 793 millions (1901), and the Spanish between 331 million gallons in 1896 and 656 millions in 1892.

Consumption.-It is only natural that the consumption of wine should be greatest in the countries where it is produced on the largest scale, but the discrepancy between the consumption of different countries is little short of astonishing. Thus, at the present time, the consumption per head in France is practically a hundred times that of the United Kingdom and twenty times that of Germany-the latter, it must be remembered, being itself an important wine-producing area.

Country.

Period. I

I

1891-1895.

1896-1900.

1901-1905.

Gallons.

Gallons.

Gallons.

France

23.0

28.8

30.8

Italy

20.6

20.0

25

I

Spain

21

I

16.4

18.5

Portugal

I I

0

20.3

17.1

Austria-Hungary.. .

2'9

3.2

3.9

Germany

1

19

1'38

1'45

United States.. .

0.30

0.32

0.43

British Empire-

United Kingdom .

0.37

0.40

0.32

Australia.. .

1.09

1.12

1.30

Cape'

. .

The following table will give some idea of the relative consumption of wine in different countries: Average Consumption of Wine per Head of Population. 1 Has varied between 1.9 and 3.7.

The whole of the wine consumed in the United Kingdom is imported. On the average somewhat more than one-third of the wine imported is derived from France, and about a quarter from Spain and Portugal respectively.

From

Nature of Wines.

Quantity.

Value.

France.. .

Claret, burgundy,

champagne, &c.

(Gallons).

4,105,302

2,221,423

Portugal. .

Chiefly port .

3,7 0 7,377 1

1,099,727

Spain.. .

Sherry,tarra -

gona, &c.. .

2,808,751

397,840

Germany'

Netherlands

Hock, Moselle .

1,268,662

279,002

Italy. .

243,247

42,513

Total for foreign

countries

..

12,356,425

4,094,672

Australia

..

622,836

100,161

Total British

possessions

777,689

123,891

Wines imported into the United Kingdom in 1906. ' The quantity of port received was exceptionally large. The average quantity is rather under 3 million gallons and the value about £850:ooe.

2 A consider ' 1)le proportion of the German wines come to the United Kingdc

i via the Netherlands.

Of the wines imported from France, about one-quarter was Champagne and Saumur, the remainder consisting almost entirely of still wines, such as claret and burgundy.

Viticulture And Wine-Making General Considerations.-Although the wine is cultivated in practically every part of the world possessing an appropriate climate and soil, from California in the West to Persia in the East, and from Germany in the North to the Cape of Good Hope and some of the South American republics in the South, yet, as is the case also with the cereal crops and many fruits and vegetables, the wines produced in countries possessing temperate climates are-when the vintage is successful-finer than those made in hot or semi-tropical regions. Although, for instance, the wines of Italy, Greece, the Cape, &c., possess great body and strength, they cannot compare as regards elegance of flavour and bouquet with the wines of France and Germany. On the other hand, of course, the vagaries of the temperate climate of northern Europe frequently lead to a partial or complete failure of the vintage, whereas the wines produced in relatively hot countries, although they undoubtedly vary in quality from year to year, are rarely, if ever, total failures. The character of a wine depends mainly (a) on the nature of the soil; ( b ) on the general type of the climate; (c ) on the variety of vine cultivated. The quality, as distinct from general character, depends almost entirely on the vintage, i.e. on the weather conditions preceding and during the gathering of the grapes and th© subsequent fermentation. Of all these factors, that of the nature of the soil on which the vine is grown is perhaps the most important. The same vine, exposed to practically identical conditions of climate, will produce markedly different wines if planted in different soils. On the other hand, different varieties of the vine, provided they are otherwise not unsuitable, may, if planted in the same soil, after a time produce wines which may not differ seriously in character. Thus the planting of French and German vines in other countries (e.g. Australia, the Cape) has not led to the production of directly comparable wines, although there may at first have been some general resemblance in character. On the other hand, the replanting of some of the French vineyards (after the ravages due to the phylloxera) with American vines, or, as was more generally the case, the grafting of the old French stock on the hardy American roots, resulted, after a time, in many cases, in the production of wines practically indistinguishable from those formerly made.

Wine-making

The art of wine-making is, compared with the manufacture of beer or spirits, both in principle and in practice a relatively simple operation. When the grapes have attained to maturity they are collected by hand and then transferred in baskets or carts to the press house. After the stalks have been removed either by hand or by a simple apparatus the juice is expressed either - as is still the case in many quarters - by trampling under foot or by means of a simple lever or screw press or by rollers. In the case of red wines the skins are not removed, inasmuch as it is from the latter that the colour of the wine is derived. The must, as the expressed juice of the grape is termed, is now exposed to the process of fermentation, which consists essentially in the conversion of the sugar of the must into alcohol and various subsidiary products. The fermenting operations in wine-making differ radically from those obtaining in the case of beer or of spirits in that (if we except certain special cases) no yeast is added from without. Fermentation is induced spontaneously by the yeast cells which are always present in large numbers in the grape itself. The result is that - as compared with beer or spirits - the fermentation at first is relatively slow, but it rapidly increases in intensity and continues until practically the whole of the sugar is converted. In the case of the production of certain sweet wines (such as the sweet Sauternes, Port and Tokay) the fermentation only proceeds up to a certain extent. It then either stops naturally, owing to the fact that the yeast cells will not work rapidly in a liquid containing more than a certain percentage of alcohol, or it is stopped artificially either by the addition of spirit or by other means which will be referred to below. As the character of a wine depends to a considerable extent on the nature of the yeast (see Fermentation), many attempts have been made of late years to improve the character of inferior wines by adding to the unfermented must a pure culture of yeast derived from a superior wine. If pure yeast is added in this manner in relatively large quantities, it will tend to predominate, inasmuch as the number of yeast cells derived from the grapes is at the commencement of fermentation relatively small. In this way, by making pure cultures derived from some of the finest French and German wines it has been possible to lend something of their character to the inferior growths of, for instance, California and Australia. It is not possible, however, by this method to entirely reproduce the character of the wine from which the yeast is derived inasmuch as this depends on other factors as well, particularly the constitution of the grape juice, conditions of climate, &c. The other micro-organisms naturally present in the must which is pitched with the pure culture are not without their influence on the result. If it were possible to sterilize the must prior to pitching with pure yeast no doubt better results might be obtained, but this appears to be out of the question inasmuch as the heating of the must which sterilization involves is not a practicable operation. After the main fermentation is finished, the young wine is transferred to casks or vats. The general method followed is to fill the casks to the bung-hole and to keep them full by an occasional addition of wine. The secondary fermentation proceeds slowly and the carbonic acid formed is allowed to escape by way of the bung-hole, which in order to prevent undue access of air is kept lightly covered or is fitted with a water seal, which permits gas to pass out of the cask, but prevents any return flow of air. During this secondary fermentation the wine gradually throws down a deposit which forms a coherent crust, known as argol or lees. This consists chiefly of cream of tartar (bitartrate of potash), tartrate of lime, yeast cells and of albuminous and colouring matters. At the end of some four to five months this primary deposition is practically finished and the wine more or less bright. At this stage it receives its first racking. Racking consists merely in separating the bright wine from the deposit. The wine is racked into clean casks, and this operation is repeated at intervals of some months, in all three to four times. As a general rule, it is not possible by racking alone to obtain the wine in an absolutely bright condition. In order to bring this about, a further operation, namely that of fining, is necessary. This consists, in most cases, in adding to the wine proteid matter in a finely divided state. For this purpose isinglass, gelatin or, in the case of high-class red wines, white of egg is employed. The proteid matter combines with a part of the tannin in the wine, forming an insoluble tannate, and this gradually subsides to the bottom of the cask, dragging with it the mechanically suspended matters which are the main cause of the wine's turbidity. In some cases purely mechanical means such as the use of Spanish clay or filtration are employed for fining purposes. Some wines, particularly those which lack acid or tannin, are very difficult to fine. The greatest care is necessary to ensure the cleanliness and asepticity of the casks in which wine is stored or into which it is racked. The most common method of ensuring cask cleanliness is the operation known as " sulphuring." This consists in burning a portion of a sulphur "match" (i.e. a flat wick which has been steeped in melted sulphur, or simply a stick of melted sulphur) in the interior of the cask. The sulphurous acid evolved destroys such micro-organisms as may be in the cask, and in addition, as it reduces the supply of oxygen, renders the wine less prone to acidulous fermentation. Sweet wines, which are liable to fret, are more highly and frequently sulphured than dry wines. After the wine has been sufficiently racked and fined, and when it has reached a certain stage of maturation - varying according to the type of wine from, as a rule, two to four years - the wine is ready for bottling. Certain wines, however, such as some of the varieties of port, are not bottled, but are kept in the wood, at any rate for a considerable number of years. Wines so preserved, however, develop an entirely different character from those placed in bottle.

Chemistry Of Wine Maturation of the Grape. - The processes which take place in the grape during its growth and maturation are of considerable interest. E. Mach has made some interesting observations on this point. At first - i.e. at the beginning of July when the berries have attained to an appreciable size - the specific gravity of the juice is very low; it contains very little sugar, but a good deal of acid, chiefly free tartaric acid and malic acid. The juice at this period contains an appreciable amount of tannin. As the berry grows the amount of sugar gradually increases, and the same up to a certain point applies to the acidity. The character of the acidity, however, changes, the free tartaric acid gradually disappearing, forming bitartrate of potash and being otherwise broken up. On the other hand, the free malic acid increases and the tannin decreases. When the grape is ripe, the sugar has attained to a maximum and the acidity is very much reduced; the tannin has entirely disappeared.

The following figures obtained by Mach afford an interesting illustration of these processes At first the sugar in the juice consists entirely of dextrose, but later fructose (laevulose) is formed. The sugar in ripe grape juice is practically invert sugar, i.e. consists of practically equal parts of dextrose and fructose. The proportion of sugar present in the juice of ripe grapes varies considerably according to the type of grape, the locality and the harvest. In temperate climates it varies as a rule between 15 and 20%, but in the case of hot climates or where the grapes are treated in a special manner, it may rise as high as 35% and more.

Date of Analysis of J iiicc.

6th July.

12th Aug.

9th Sept.

12th Oct.

Specific gravity .

1.010

1.029

I.083

I.093

Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.

Sugar.. .

o

86

2.02

18.52

23.17

Total acid (as

tartaric acid) .

2.66

3.46

0.87

0.71

Tartar.. .

0.67

0.55

0.54

0.55

Malic acid. .

1

16

2.47

0.55

0.42

Tannin

0.106

0.012

. .

Fermentation

The fermentation of grape juice, i.e. the must, is, as we have seen, a relatively simple operation, consisting as it does in exposing it to the spontaneous action of the micro-organisms contained in it. The main products formed are, as in all cases of Constitution of Grape Juice at Various Periods of Maturation. (E. Mach.) alcoholic fermentation, ethylic alcohol, water and carbonic acid. At the same time various subsidiary products such as glycerin, succinic acid, small quantities of higher alcohols, volatile acids and compound esters are produced. In the case of red wines colouring matter is dissolved from the skins and a certain amount of mineral matter and tannin is extracted. It is to these subsidiary matters that the flavour and bouquet in wine are particularly due, at any rate in the first stages of maturation, although some of the substances originally present in the grape, such as ready-formed esters, essential oils, fat and so on, also play a role in this regard. In view of the fact that fresh grape juice contains innumerable bacteria and moulds, in addition to the yeast cells which bring about the alcoholic fermentation, and that the means which are adopted by the brewer and the distiller for checking the action of these undesirable organisms cannot be employed by the wine-maker, it is no doubt remarkable that the natural wine yeast so seldom fails to assert a preponderating action, particularly as the number of yeast cells at the beginning of fermentation is relatively small. The fact is that the constitution of average grape juice and the temperatures of fermentation which generally prevail are particularly well suited to the life action of wine yeast, and are inimical to the development of the other organisms. When these conditions fail, as is, for instance, the case when the must is lacking in acidity, or when the weather during the fermentation period is very hot and means are not at hand to cool the must, bacterial side fermentations may, and do, often take place. The most suitable temperature for fermentation varies according to the type of wine. In the case of Rhine wines it is between 20 and 25° C. If the temperatures rise above this, the fermentation is liable to be too rapid, too much alcohol is formed at a relatively early stage, and the result is that the fermentation ceases before the whole of the sugar has been transformed. Wines which have received a check of this description during the main fermentation are very liable to bacterial troubles and frets. In the case of wines made in more southerly latitudes temperatures between 25 and 30° are not excessive, but temperatures appreciably over 30° frequently lead to mischief. The young wine immediately after the cessation of the main fermentation is very differently constituted from the must from which it was derived. The sugar, as we have seen, has disappeared, and alcohol, glycerin and other substances have been formed. At the same time the acidity is markedly reduced. This reduction of acidity is partly due to the deposition of various salts of tartaric acid, which are less soluble in a dilute alcoholic medium than in water, and partly to the action of micro-organisms. Young wines differ very widely in their composition according to class and vintage. The alcohol in naturally fermented wines may vary between 7 and 16%, although these are not the outside limits. The acidity may vary between 0.3 and 1% according to circumstances. The normal proportion of glycerin varies between 7 and 14 parts for every 100 parts of alcohol in the wine, but even these limits are frequently not reached or exceeded. The total solid matter or " extract," as it is called, will vary between 1.5 and 3.5% for dry wines, and the mineral matter or ash generally amounts to about one-tenth of the " extract." The tannin in young red wines may amount to as much as 0.4 or 0.5%, but in white wines it is much less. The amount of volatile acid should be very small, and, except in special cases, a percentage of volatile acid exceeding 0.1 to 0.15%, according to the class of wine, will indicate that an abnormal or undesirable fermentation has taken place. As the wine matures the most noticeable feature in the first instance is the reduction in the acidity, which is mainly due to a deposition of tartar, and the disappearance of tannin and colouring matter, due to fining and the action of oxygen.

The taste and bouquet of wines in the earlier stages of their development, or within the first four or five years of the vintage, are almost entirely dependent upon constituents derived from the must, either directly or as a result of the main fermentation. In the case of dry wines, the quality which is known as " body " (palate-fulness) is mainly dependent on the solid, i.e. non-volatile, constituents. These comprise gummy and albuminous matters, acid, salts, glycerin and other matters of which we have so far little knowledge. The apparent " body " of the wine, however, is not merely dependent upon the absolute quantity of solid - non-volatile - matters it contains, but is influenced also by the relative proportions in which the various constituents exist. For instance, a wine which under favourable conditions would seem full and round may appear harsh or rough, merely owing to the fact that it contains a small quantity of suspended tartar, the latter causing temporary hyperacidity and apparent " greenness." It has been found by experience also that wines which are normally constituted as regards the relative proportions of their various constituents, provided that the quantities of these do not fall below certain limits, are likely to develop well, whereas wines which, although perfectly sound, show an abnormal constitution, will rarely turn out successful. The bouquet of young wines is due principally to the compound esters which exist in the juice or are formed by the primary fermentation. It was at one time thought that the quality of the bouquet was dependent upon the absolute quantity of these compound esters present, but the author and others have plainly shown that this is not the case. Among the characteristic esters present in wine is the well-known " oenanthic ether," which consists principally of ethylic pelargonate. It does not follow that a wine which shows a pretty bouquet in the primary stages will turn out well. On the contrary, it is frequently the case that the most successful wines in after years are those which at first show very little bouquet. The maturation of wine, whether it be in bottle or in cask, is an exceedingly interesting operation. The wines which remain for a long period in cask gradually lose alcohol and water by evaporation, and therefore become in time extremely concentrated as regards the solid and relatively non-volatile matters contained in them. As a rule, wines which are kept for many years in cask become very dry, and the loss of alcohol by evaporation - particularly in the case of light wines - has as a result the production of acidity by oxidation. Although these old wines may contain absolutely a very large quantity of acid, they may not appear acid to the palate inasmuch as the other constituents, particularly the glycerin and gummy matters, will have likewise increased in relative quantity to such an extent as to hide the acid flavour. In the case of maturation in bottle the most prominent features are the mellowing of the somewhat hard taste associated with new wine and the development of the secondary bouquet. The softening effect of age is due to the deposition of a part of the tartar together with a part of the tannin and some of the colouring matter. The mechanism of the development of the secondary bouquet appears to be dependent firstly on purely chemical processes, principally that of oxidation, and secondly on the life activity of certain micro-organisms. L. Pasteur filled glass tubes entirely with new wine and then sealed them up. It was found that wine so treated remained unchanged in taste and flavour for years. On the other hand, he filled some other tubes partly with wine, the remaining space being occupied by air. In this case the wine gradually matured and acquired the properties which were associated with age. Wortmann examined a number of old wines and found that in all cases in which the wine was still in good condition or of fine character a small number of living organisms (yeast cells, &c.) were still present. He also found that in the case of old wines which had frankly deteriorated, the presence of micro-organisms could not be detected. It is, however, not absolutely clear whether the improvement observed on maturation is actually due to the action of these micro-organisms. It may be that the conditions which are favourable to the improvement of the wine are also favourable to the continued existence of the micro-organisms, and that their disappearance is coincident with, and not the cause of, a wine's deterioration. It is frequently assumed that a wine is necessarily good because it is old, and that the quality of a wine increases indefinitely with age. This is, however, a very mistaken idea. There is a period in the life history of every wine at which it attains its maximum of quality. This period as a rule is short, and it then commences " to go back " or deteriorate. The age at which a wine is at its best is by no means so great as is popularly supposed. This age naturally depends upon the character of the wine and on the vintage. Highly alcoholic wines, such as port and sherry, will improve and remain good for a much longer period than relatively light wines, such as claret, champagne or Moselle. As regards the latter, indeed, it is nowadays held that it is at its best within a very short period of the vintage, and that when the characteristic slight " prickling " taste due to carbonic acid derived from the secondary fermentation has disappeared, the wine has lost its attraction for the modern palate. In the same way champagne rarely, if ever, improves after twelve to fourteen years. With regard to claret it may be said that as a general rule the wine will not improve after twenty-five to thirty years, and that after this time it will commence to deteriorate. At the same time there are exceptional cases in which claret may be found in very fine condition after a lapse of as much as forty years, but even in such cases it will be found that for every bottle that is good there may be one which is distinctly inferior.

Diseases Diseases of the Vine. - The vine is subject to a number of diseases some of which are due to micro-organisms (moulds, bacteria), others to insect life. The most destructive of all these diseases is that of the phylloxera. The Phylloxera vastatrix is an insect belonging to the green fly tribe, which destroys the roots and leaves of the growing plant by forming galls and nodosities. Practically every winegrowing country has been afflicted with this disease at one time or another. The great epidemic in the French vineyards in the years 1882 to 1885 led to a reduction of the yield of about 50%. Many remedies for this disease have been suggested, including total submersion of the vineyards, the use of carbon bisulphide for spraying, and of copper salts, but there appears to be little doubt that a really serious epidemic can only be dealt with by systematic destruction of the vines, followed by replanting with resistant varieties. This, of course, naturally leads to the production of a wine somewhat different in character to that produced before the epidemic, but this difficulty may be overcome to some extent, as it was in the Bordeaux vineyards, by grafting ancient stock on the roots of new and resistant vines. Oidium or mildew is only second in importance to the phylloxera. It is caused by a species of mould which lives on the green part of the plant. The leaves shrivel, the plant ceases to grow, and the grapes that are formed also shrivel and die. The most effective cure, short of destruction and replantation, appears to be spraying with finely divided sulphur. Another evil, which is caused by unseasonable weather during and shortly after the flowering, is known as coulure. This causes the flowers, or at a later period the young fruit, to fall off the growing plant in large numbers.

Diseases of Wine. - These are numerous, and may be derived either directly from the vine, from an abnormal constitution of the grape juice, or to subsequent infection. Thus the disease known as tourne or casse is generally caused by the wine having been made or partly made from grapes affected by mildew. The micro-organism giving rise to this disease generally appears in the form of small jointed rods and tangled masses under the microscope. Wine which is affected by this disease loses its colour and flavour. The colour in the case of red wines is first altered from red to brown, and in bad cases disappears altogether, leaving an almost colourless solution. This disease is also caused by the wine lacking alcohol, acid and tannin, and to the presence of an excess of albuminous matters. The most common disease to which wine is subject by infection is that caused by a micro-organism termed mycoderma-vini (French fleurs de vin). This micro-organism, which resembles ordinary yeast cells in appearance, forms a pellicle on the surface of wine, particularly when the latter is exposed to the air more than it should be, and its development is favoured by lack of alcohol. The micro-organism splits up the alcohol of the wine and some of the other constituents, forming carbonic acid and water. This process indicates a very intensive form of oxidation inasmuch as no intermediary acid is formed. One of the most common diseases, namely that producing acetous fermentation, differs from the disease caused by M. vini in that the alcohol is transformed into acetic acid. It is caused by a microorganism termed Mycoderma aceti, which occurs in wine in small groups and chaplets of round cells. It is principally due to a lack of alcohol in the wine cr to lack of acidity in the must. The microorganism which causes the disease of bitterness (amer) forms longish branched filaments in the wine. Hand in hand with the development of a disagreeable bitter taste there is a precipitation of colouring matter and the formation of certain disagreeable secondary constituents. This disease is generally caused by infection and is favoured by a lack of alcohol, acid and tannin. Another disease which generally occurs only in white wines is that which converts the wine into a thick stringy liquid. It is the viscous or graisse disease. As a rule this disease is due to a lack of tannin (hence its more frequent occurrence in white wines). The mannitic disease, which is due to high temperatures during fermentation and lack of acid in the must, is rarely of serious consequence in temperate countries. The micro-organism splits up the laevulose in the must, forming mannitol and different acids, particularly volatile acid. The wine becomes turbid and acquires a peculiarly bitter sweet taste, and if the disease goes further becomes quite undrinkable. It would appear from the researches of the author and others that the mannitol ferment is more generally present in wines than is supposed to be the case. Thus the author found in some very old and fine wines very appreciable quantities of mannitol. In these cases the mannitic fermentation had obviously not developed to any extent, and small quantities of mannitol appear to exercise no prejudicial effect on flavour.

Treatment of Diseases

It was found by Pasteur that by heating wine out of contact with air to about 66° C. the various germs causing wine maladies could be checked in their action or destroyed. The one disadvantage of this method is that unless very carefully applied the normal development of the wine may be seriously retarded. In the case of cheap wines or of wines which are already more or less mature, this is not a matter of any great importance, but in the case of the finer wines it may be a serious consideration. Pasteurizing alone, however, will only avail in cases where the disease has not gone beyond the initial stages, inasmuch as it cannot restore colour, taste or flavour where those have already been affected. In such cases, and also in others where pasteurizing is not applicable, some direct treatment with a view to eliminating or adding constituents which are in excess or lacking is indicated. In this regard it is somewhat difficult to draw the line between that which is a rational and scientific method for preventing waste of good material and sophistication pure and simple. It appears to the author, however, that where such methods are employed merely with a view to overcoming a specific malady and there is no intention of increasing the quantity of the wine for purposes of gain, or of giving it a fictitious appearance of quality, these operations are perfectly justifiable and may be compared to the modifications of procedure which are forced upon the brewer or distiller who has to deal with somewhat abnormal raw material. It has been found, for instance, that in the case of the mannitic disease the action of the micro-organism may be checked, or prevented altogether, by bringing the acidity of the must up to a certain level by the addition of a small quantity of tartaric acid. Again, it is well known that in the case of the viscous disease the difficulty may be overcome by the addition of a small quantity of tannin. In the same way the disease caused by the mildew organism may be counteracted by a slight addition of alcohol and tannin. One method of assisting nature in wine-making, which is, in the opinion of the author, not justifiable if the resulting product is sold as wine or in such a manner as to indicate that it is natural wine, is the process termed " gallisizing," so called from its inventor H. L. L. Gall, which has been largely practised, particularly on the Rhine. The process of Gall consists in adding sugar and water in sufficient quantity to establish the percentages of free acid and sugar which are characteristic of the best years in the must obtained in inferior years. Although there is no objection to this product from a purely hygienic point of view, it is not natural wine, and the products present in the must other than sugar and acid are by this process seriously affected. Another method of dealing with inferior must, due to J. A. C. Chaptal, consists in neutralizing excessive acid by means of powdered marble, and bringing up the sugar to normal proportions by adding appropriate amounts of this substance in a solid form. There is less objection to this process than to the former, inasmuch as it does not result in a dilution of the wine. It is scarcely necessary to say that the indiscriminate addition of alcohol and water, or of either to must or to wine, must be regarded as a reprehensible operation.

Plastering

In some countries, particularly in Italy, Spain and Portugal, it has been and still is a common practice to add a small quantity of gypsum to the fermenting must or to dust it over the grapes prior to pressing. It is said that wines treated in this manner mature more quickly, and that they are more stable and of better colour. It certainly appears to be the case that musts which are plastered rarely suffer from abnormal fermentation, and that the wines which result very rarely turn acid. The main result of plastering is that the soluble tartrates in the wine are decomposed, forming insoluble tartrate of lime and soluble sulphate of potash. It is held that an excess of the latter is undesirable in wine, but unless the quantity appreciably exceeds two grams per litre, na reasonable objection can be raised.

Basis Wines. - Wines which are made not from fresh grape juice but from raisins or concentrated must, or similar material, are generally termed basis wines. They are prepared by adding water to the concentrated saccharine matter and subsequently pitching with wine yeast at an appropriate temperature. Frequently alcohol, tannin, glycerin, and similar wine constituents are also added. If carefully prepared there is no objection to these basis wines from a hygienic point of view, although they have not the delicate qualities and stimulating effects of natural wines; unfortunately, however, these wines have in the past been vended on a large scale in a manner calculated to deceive the consumer as to their real nature, but energetic measures, which have of late been taken in most countries affected by this trade, have done much to mitigate the evil.

Wines Of France It may be safely said that there is no other country in which the general conditions are so favourable for the production of wine of high quality and on a large scale as is the case in France. The climate is essentially of a moderate character; the winters

are rarely very cold, and the summers are seldom of the intensely hot and dry nature which is characteristic of most southerly wine countries. There are large tracts of gently undulating or relatively flat country which is, inasmuch as it ensures effective exposal of the vines to the sun, of a type particularly suited to viticulture. There is almost everywhere an efficient supply of water, and lastly the character of the soil is in many parts an ideal one for the production of wine high in quality and abundant in quantity. It may here be stated that a rich soil such as is suitable for the growth of cereal crops or vegetables is not, as a rule, an ideal one for the production of fine wines. The ideal soil for vinegrowing is that which possesses a sufficiency, but not an excess, of nutriment for the plant, and which is so constituted that it will afford good drainage. The most important qualification, however, is that it should be so constituted as to preserve and store up, during the relatively cold weather the heat which it has derived from the atmosphere during the summer. In this respect the famous Bordeaux or Gironde district is, perhaps, more fortunate than any other part of the world. The thrifty and methodical habits of the French peasantry, and also the system of small holdings which prevails in France, have, there is little doubt, done much to raise the French wine industry to the pre-eminent position which it holds. There is perhaps no branch of agriculture which requires more minute attention or for which a system of small holdings is more suitable than wine culture. At the present day, wine is produced in no less than 77 departments in France, the average total yield during the past ten years being roughly 1000 million gallons. This is considerably more than the average produced previous to the phylloxera period (1882-1887). The highest production on record was in the year 1875, when roughly 1840 million gallons were produced. Although France produces such enormous quantities of wine it is a remarkable fact that more wine is imported into France than is exported from that country. The average imports are in the neighbourhood of 120 million gallons, of which rather more than one-half comes from Algeria. The exports amount to roughly 40 million gallons. Of recent years (1896-1907) the only vintages which have been deficient as regards quantity are those of 1897, 1898, 1902 and 1903, but even in the most unfavourable of these years (1898) the quantity exceeded 700 million gallons. The greatest yield in this same period was in 1900, when over 1470 million gallons were produced. The number of different varieties of wines produced in France is remarkable. The red wines include the elegant and delicate (though not unstable) wines of the Gironde, and again the full, though not coarse, wines of the Burgundy district. Among the white wines we have the full sweet Sauternes, the relatively dry and elegant Graves and Chablis, and the light white wines which produce champagne and brandy.

Gironde (Bordeaux) Wines

If France is the wine-growing country, par excellence, the Bordeaux district may be regarded as the heart and centre of the French wine industry. Although other parts of France produce excellent wines, the Gironde is easily first if high and stable character, elegance and delicacy, variety and quantity are considered together. The total area of the departments of the Gironde is about 21. million acres, and roughly one-fifth of this is under the vine. It forms a tract of country some 90 m. long by 60 m. broad, in which the chief watersheds are those of the Garonne, Dordogne, and their confluent the Gironde. The soil varies very considerably in its character, and it is due to these variations that so many different types of wine are produced in this district. It generally consists of limestone, or of mixed limestone and clay, or of sand and clay, or of gravel, with here and there flint and rolled quartz. The subsoil is either of clay, of limestone, or mixed sand and clay, gravel, or of a peculiar kind of pudding stone which exists in a hard and a soft variety. It is formed of sand or fine gravel cemented by infiltrated oxide of iron. This stone is known locally under the name of alios. It is generally found at a depth of about 2 ft. under the better growths of the Medoc and Graves. The subsoils of some of the other districts (Cotes and St Emilion) contain much stone in the shape of flint and quartz. The finest wines of the Medoc and Graves are largely grown on a mixture of gravel, quartz and sand with a subsoil of alios or clay. The Gironde viticultural region is divided into six main districts, namely, Medoc, Sauternes, Graves, Cotes, Entre-deux-Mers and Palus. Although properly belonging to the Cotes, the St Emilion district is sometimes classified separately, as indeed, having regard to the excellence and variety of its wines, it has a right to be.

Medoc

The most important subdivision of the Gironde district is that of the Medoc. It is here that the wine which is known to us as claret is produced in greatest excellence and variety. The Medoc consists of a tongue of land to the north of Bordeaux, bounded by the Garonne and Gironde on the east, and by the sea on the west and north. It is, roughly, 59 m. long by 6 to to m. broad. The soil varies considerably in nature, but consists mostly of gravel, quartz, limestone and sand on the surface, and of clay and alios beneath. The principal vines grown in the Medoc are the Cabernet-Sauvignon, which is the most important, the Gros Cabernet, the Merlot, the Carmenere, the Malbec, and the Verdot. All these produce red wines. Very little white wine is made in the Medoc proper. The method of vine cultivation is peculiar and characteristic. The vines are kept very low, and as a rule only two branches or arms, which are trained at right angles to the stem, are permitted to form. This dwarf system of culture gives the Medoc vineyards at a distance the appearance of a sea of small bushes, thereby producing an effect entirely different from, for instance, that seen on the Rhine with its high basket-shaped plants. The methods of making the wine in the Medoc are of the simplest description. The vintage generally takes place towards the end of September or the beginning of October. The grapes from which the stalks are partly or wholly (and occasionally not at all) removed are crushed by treading or some other simple method, but sometimes even this is omitted, the juice being expressed by the weight of the grapes themselves, or by the pressure caused by incipient fermentation. Presses. are not used in the case of red wines until after fermentation, when they are employed in order to separate the wine from the murk. As a rule the fermentation occupies from 6 to io days; by this time the must has practically lost the whole of its sugar, and the young wine is drawn off and filled into hogsheads. The secondary fermentation proper is generally finished at the end of about six weeks to two months, and the first. racking takes place, as a rule, in February or March. Subsequent rackings are made about June and November of the same year, but in the following years, until bottling, two rackings a year suffice.

The Medoc is divided into a number of communes (such as St Julien, Margaux, Pauillac, &c.), and in these communes are situated the different vineyards from which the actual name of the wine is derived. Unlike the products of the different vineyards of most other districts, which are purchased by the merchants and vatted to supply a general wine for commerce, the yield of the principal estates of the Medoc are kept distinct and reach the consumer as the products of a particular growth and of a particular year. This practice is almost without exception resorted to with what are known as the " classed growths " and the superior " bourgeois " wines, whilst in seasons in which the wines are of good quality it is continued down to the lower grades. This classification of the Medoc growths became necessary owing to the great variety of qualities produced and the distinct characteristic excellence of the individual vintages. There are four main classes or crus (literally growths, but more correctly types or qualities), namely, the " grands crus classes " or " classed growths " and the bourgeois, artisan and peasant growths. The " classed growths," which include all the most famous wines of the Medoc, are themselves subdivided into five sections or growths. This general classification, which was made by a conference of brokers in 1855 as a result of many years of observation dating back to the 18th century, is still very fairly descriptive of the average merit of the wines classified. The following is a list of the classed red wines of the Medoc (i.e. claret) together with the names of the communes in which they are situated.

Classed Growths Of The Medoc (Claret) First Growths. Château Lafite, Pauillac. Margaux, Margaux. Latour, Pauillac.

Second Growths. Château Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac. Rauzan-Segla, Margaux. Rauzan-Gassies, Margaux. Leoville-Lascases, St Julien. Leoville-Poyferre, St Julien. Leoville-Barton, St Julien. Durfort-Vivens, Margaux. Lascombes, Margaux. Gruaud-Larose-Sarget, St Julien.

Gruaud Larose, St Julien. Brane-Cantenac, Cantenac. Pichon-Longueville, Pauillac.

„ Pichon-Longueville-Lalande, Pauillac.

„ Ducru-Beaucaiilou, St Julien. Cos d'Estournel, St Estephe.

Château Montrose, St Estephe.

Third Growths. Château Kirwan, Cantenac. D'Issan, Cantenac. Lagrange, St Julien. Langoa, St Julien. Giscours, Labarde. Malescot, Margaux.

Brown Cantenac, Cantenac.

Palmer, Cantenac. La Lagune, Ludon. Desmirail, Margaux. Calon-Segur, St Estephe.

Ferriere, Margaux. Becker, Margaux.

Fourth Growths. Château Saint-Pierre, St Julien. Branaire-Duluc, St Julien.

Talbot, St Julien. Duhart-Milon, Pauillac.

Poujet, Cantenac.

La Tour Carnet, St Laurent.

„ Rochet, St Estephe.

„ Beychevelle, St Julien. Le Prieure, Cantenac.

Marquis de Terme, Margaux.

[WINES OF FRANCE

Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac.

„ Batailley, Pauillac. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac. Ducasse-Grand-Puy, Pauillac. Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac.

Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac.

Dauzac, Labarde.

Mouton-d'Armailhacq, Pauillac.

Le Tertre, Arsac.

Haut-Bages, Pauillac. Pedesclaux, Pauillac. Belgrave, St Laurent.

„ Camensac, St Laurent.

Cos-Labory, St Estephe.

Château Clerc-Milon, Pauillac.

Croizet-Bages, Pauillac. Cantemerle, Macau.

The quality of the Medoc red wines (and this applies also to some of the finer growths of the other Bordeaux districts) is radically different from that of wines similar in type grown in other parts of the world. The Gironde red wines have sufficient body and alcohol to ensure stability without being heavy or fiery. At the same time, their acidity is very low and their bouquet characteristically delicate and elegant. It is to this relatively large amount of body and absence of an excess of acid and of tannin that the peculiarly soft effect of the Bordeaux wines on the palate is due. It has been said that chemistry is of little avail in determining the value of a wine, and this is undoubtedly true as regards the bouquet and flavour, but there is no gainsaying the fact that many hundreds of analyses of the wines of the Gironde have shown that they are, as a class, distinctly different in the particulars referred to from wines of the claret type produced, for instance, in Spain, Australia or the Cape. The quality of the wines naturally varies considerably with the vintage; but it is almost invariably the case that the wines of successful vintages will contain practically the same relative proportions of their various constituents, although the absolute amounts present of these constituents may differ widely. It is the author's experience also that where a wine displays some abnormality as regards one or more constituents, that although it may be sound, it is rarely a wine of the highest class. The tables below will give a fair idea of the variations which occur in the same wine as a result of different vintages, and the variations due to differences of growth " in the same vintage. These figures are selected from among a number published by the author in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing, April 1907.

and at a maximum in 1907, when close on moo hogsheads were obtained. Similarly, the Château Margaux, which yielded I120 hogsheads in 1900, produced 280 hogsheads in 1903. The prices of the wines also are subject to great fluctuation, but in fair years will vary, according to class and quality, from;IO to 30 per hogshead for the better growths.

The principal claret vintages of modern times have been those of 1858, 1864, 1869, 1870, 1874, 1875, 1877, 1878, 1888, 1893, 1896, 1899 and 1900, while it was thought probable that many of the wines of 1904 to 1907 inclusive would turn out well. From 1882 to 1886 inclusive, the vintages were almost total failures owing to mildew. In 1887 to 1895 a number of fair wines were produced in each year, and the first really good vintage of the post-mildew-phylloxera period was that of 1888.

Most of the wines grown on a purely gravelly soil are termed " Graves," but there is a specific district of Graves which lies south of Bordeaux and west of the river, and extends as far as Graves. Langon. The soil is almost a pure sandy gravel with a subsoil of varied nature, but principally altos, gravel, clay or sand. This district produces both red and white wines. The vines, the methods of viticulture and vinification as regards the red wines of the Graves district, are similar to those of the Medoc. The wines are, if anything, slightly fuller in body and more alcoholic than those of the latter region. They possess a characteristic flavour which differentiates them somewhat sharply from the Medoc wines. The Graves contains one vineyard, namely Château Haut-Brion, which ranks in quality together with the three first growths of the Medoc. The remainder of the red Graves are not classified, but among the more important wines may be mentioned the following: in the commune of Pessac, Château La Mission and Château PapeClement; in the commune of Villenave D'Ornon, Château La Ferrade; in Leognan, Château Haut-Bailly, Château Haut-BrionLarrivet and Château Branon-Licterie; in Martillac, Château Smith-Haut-Lafite.

Vintage.

Description.

Alcohol

Per Cent.

by Vol.

Total

Acidity.

Extract

(Solid

Matter).

Ash.

Total

Tartaric

Acid.

Glycerin.

Sugar.

1865

Château Lafite

I I. 26

4.17

26.83

2.18

2.28

7.99

I Io

18 75

7.25

..

1892

4.38

25.92

2.42

2.11

4.60

1.25

18 9 6

11.05

3.51

26.08

2.68

I.71

8.64

I.69

1899

II -47

3.49

27.91

3.01

1.78

7.11

1.74

1905

,,

10.75

3.02

25'34

2.42

2.42

7.52

2.12

Vintage.

Description.

Alcohol

Per Cent.

by Vol.

Total

Acidity.

- Extract

(Solid

Matter).

Ash.

Total

Tartaric

Acid.

Glycerin.

Sugar.

1900

Ch. Margaux

12.14

3.06

26.32

2.58

1.50

8.76

I.93

Ch. Mouton-Rothschild

11

82

2.97

28.98

2.69

1.23

7.53

2.56

Ch. Larose

12.06

3.23

29.01

2.29

1.50

8.02

3.97

Ch. Batailley

12.14

3.15


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Wine'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. http://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/bri/w/wine.html. 1910.


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