How wine is made
The making of wine is an extremely complicated business - winemakers often study a degree in 'oenology' before embarking on their careers. Winemaking is a mixture of farming, art and science.
The important aspects of how wine is made are of course those that have the most significant impact on what the finished wine actually tastes like, so from a consumer point of view only the basics are really worth worrying about, which is what we focus on here.
Obviously the first stage in making wine is growing grapes. Many of the flavours in a finished wine are a product of flavours found in the grape juice that makes it; features such as the grape variety, the climatic conditions in the vineyard, and even the type of soil and the style of 'training' of the vines can have an impact.
But the human element is also important, and the various differences in the way grapes are turned into wine can have a marked impact on the flavour of the wines we drink. Winemakers control things like fermentation, pressing and oak ageing to craft their product.
The production of sparkling wines such as Champagne is a fascinating variation on the normal process, steeped in myth, mystery and history. If you ever get the chance to visit a Champagne house or sparkling wine producer then do - they can be fascinating places.