Wine Facts and Wine Guides
Wine is as popular as ever and wine drinkers are becoming more and more familiar with the world of wines.
Wines are produced around the world; some of the finest wines come from South Africa’s Western Cape, the Napa Valley in California, and various regions in Australian. Other wine producing countries include France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Chile. Australia's wine and grape industry is an agricultural success story. Annual wine production alone is worth over $4 billion in retail value annually. The Napa Valley in California is home to over 200 wineries, making this the most concentrated wine region in the world. The wines produced here are among the best wines in the world. The Western Cape of South Africa, or the Cape Winelands ideal for summer wine, doesn’t produce as much wine as California and Australia, but some believe that the quality of South African wines is the best in the world. (See South African Red Wines & South African White Wines & South African Wine Regions)
How wine is Made
Wine is made from grapes, which grow in hot, dry and sunny climates for the best summer wine, and few areas offer the perfect conditions required to get the maximum crop for a worthwhile winemaking area. The most productive winemaking areas have little rain during the harvest months, which is ideal for allowing grapes to ripen slowly. (See Wine Facts)
Different types of grapes are grown to produce different types of wine, the most commonly grown grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon for red wines and Chardonnay for white wines. Other common grapes are Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc. Grapes create sugar as they ripen and this sweetening process stops once the grapes are picked, making the harvest timing critical. Harvesting the grapes is the most important decision a winemaker has to make. Once they are picked, you cannot go back - so they must get it right! (See How Wine is Made)