Wines have become extremely popular in the past ten years and wine awareness has also increased. Europeans have always had an in-depth knowledge about the wine industry, while it seems Americans generally were imitated by this. However, Americans are becoming more knowledgeable about the wine industry because American wines are becoming more popular.

The main reason it took America so long to catch up with Europe in this respect is dure to prohibition. When prohibition took effect, all the American wineries had to close down, and in turn the American wine industry suffered. But now we’ve caught up, so look out Europe!!

This information is designed to help future bartenders, become knowledgeable about the wine industry so you can keep up with the recent wine trend. By no means is the meant to be exhaustible, but it is a good srat. It is important to know about wine because a lot o money can be made in wine service, if served properly.


How Wine is Made

First, grapes are grown. They are picked only when they have reached a certain sugar content. The longer they stay no the vine the sweeter they become. Sun=sugar. When the grapes have reached the desired ripeness they are picked by hand (in the older, family wineries)or by a machine that picks the grapes off by the bunch. It is very important that the grapes are not damaged or bruised in this process.

The grapes are then inspected to be sure they have not been bruised or damaged- yes, people actually earn a living doing this!

After passing inspection the grapes are then mashed either by a Vertical Press machine, or in some of the longer-established wineries, the grapes are contained in large wooden vats and mashed with bare feet. During this mashing process the yeast that lives on the grape skins escapes into the must(a technical term meaning grape juice). This must is poorer quality and of insufficient quantity so the wine make intervenes by adding a laboratory-produced yeast which will produce a better finished wine. The fermentation begins when the must is placed into fermenting tanks where the yeast and sugar interact to produce alcohol. Fermentation continues for 1-2 weeks, sometimes longer. It stays in these tanks until the sugar is consumed, or when the alcohol content reaches 14. At this point, fermentation comes to a complete halt and the yeast dies. To achieve certain wines the wine maker may interact by adding additional ingredients to the wine at this point. The must is then moved in a racking tank so the sediment(dead yeast cells)sink to the bottom and are then drawn off. At this stage the wine is either bottle(whit wine)or aged (red)in new or used barrels. A new barrel has never been used for aging; a used bottle has.

Types of Wine


These are wines of average to good quality, made in bulk, packages ion large jugs, canisters or bottles. They are blended wines that do not have any particular characteristics associated with Varietal wines, ad are often served as house wines.

Generic wines include the following: Chablis- a white table wine usually light bodied and dry Rose- a pink table wine made form re grapes, but made a s a white wine

Burgundy- a red table wine that is usually fuller-bodied, and less wet in taste.

Varietals There are wines made form at least 75% of one type of grape. The name of the predominant grape used will be the name of the wine. There are four noble grape4s that when used in wine can be identified by smell alone. Varietal wines are the following:

Cabernet Sauvingnon

Pinot Noir


White Riesling

Of course there are many more (thousands) of Varietal grapes, but the ones listed above are the best known.

Four Wine Categories

Table wines (Generic or Varietal)

Appetizer wines


Dessert wines

Table Wines

They are usually between 9-14% alcohol. Red table wines are usually served at room temperature, and White table wines are usually served cold. It is not true that Red wine only goes with heavy foods, such as red meat, pasta etc. Nor is it true that White wine only goes with light food, such as fish, chicken, veal, et. This may be a rule of thumb when suggesting wine for someone who has no idea what to order, but it is perfectly acceptable to have a Red wine with a salad, or a White wine with prime rib. Rose will complement any meal.

There is no such thing as a perfect wine for any meal, it depends entirely on the customer’s tastes . In fact, for the perfect balance, some people order a great wine when the food is known to be a mediocre; and likewise, order an average wine when the food is known to be delicious.

Appetizer and Dessert Wine

Appetizer or Aperitif (Latin word meaning to open; and currently used to imply the opening of a meal with a wine to stimulate an appetite) wines are fortified. A fortified wine is one that has had something added to boost the alcohol contents a swell as the flavor of the wine. Since fermentation stops at 14%, any wine must have only 1.5% alcohol by volume, but Appetizer and Dessert wines have an alcohol content between 15-24 %. In most cases, Brandy or other grape spirits were added after fermentation was complete. Besides being fortified, Appetizer wines are aromatized with a special blend of herbs and spices. The procedures for this is very similar to the way tea is made at home. The herbs and spices, enclosed in tea-bag type material, are steeped into the wine for a duration the wine maker chooses.

Appetizer Wines

French Vermouth (dry)

Italian Vermouth(sweet)



Dessert Wines


Sherry(all types)



Dessert wines are usually sweet, rich, and feel heavy in the mouth. They are a great way to end a meal.

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