The organic farming is a complete production and management system of agricultural products, that protects the environment during all the stages of the ecosystem management, and, at the same time, preserves the health of consumers.
The main feature of the organic farming is the absence of any chemical manure, herbicide, pesticide, hormone and any other equally dangerous chemical substance during all the stages of production.
Furthermore, the organic products don’t contain any preservatives, additives and other chemical substances.
Organic farming practices are of such kind that respect the environment, protecting in this way the biodiversity of the ecosystem. By this kind of farming practices, we achieve a balanced system, because, unlike the conventional agriculture, the organic one respects the nature and protects directly the soil, the atmosphere and the water deposits.
With respect for the wisdom of the nature, organic farmers combine tradition with the modern knowledge and they use only natural manures, strengthening the soil’s fertility by interchanging the varieties they cultivate and they allow the natural maturing of the fruits without intensifying the production with artificial methods. For all these reasons, the wine as a product of the organic farming of grapes consists a proposal that respects the consumer, as well as the environment.
Α. Excellent transportation of grapes to the winery using traditional baskets or plastic buckets. The transportation of grapes plays a significant role in the success of vinification. They must be transported to the winery quickly and intact, in order to avoid negative repercussions of extraction and oxidation.
The stem (pomace) is separated from the grape. After their separation from the stalk, the grapes are led to the wine press with the help of a special pump.
C. Wine press
In this stage, discontinuous and pneumatic winepresses are used. Inside these, the collection of grape must is achieved by means of successive compressions. The best quality must is the one produced upon the first compression, the so-called free-run must, because it contains fewer tannins, that in high concentration give an intense color and acrid taste, which is undesirable for a white wine.
After the wine press, the must is led to the tanks with a natural flow (this is why the wine press is located at a greater height than the tanks) through a pipe. There, the must is cooled to 10°C in order to decelerate the beginning of alcoholic fermentation. The particles which suspend within the must, settle. This is the so-called mud, a sediment that is needed in the production of a qualitative wine. Therefore, the aim of racking is the fining of the must prior to fermentation.
Once racking is complete, the clean must is transferred into a clean tank (like communicative vessels). At this point, the temperature of the must is increased from 10°C to 18°C. The quality of a wine depends to a significant extent on the temperature of its fermentation, because this determines the amount of aromatic esters created during fermentation. Once alcoholic fermentation is complete, namely the conversion of sugars into alcohol, the wine is ready to be bottled after approximately two months. This is a fresh white wine that must be consumed within 2 years at the most from the time of its harvest. For aged white wines, when the must is fermented, it is then transferred into barrels where the fermentation process is complete. The wine remains and ages inside the barrels for approximately one year after being bottled.
Α. Excellent transportation of grapes as for white vinification.
Β. Grape Crusher
The stem (pomace) is separated from the grape. After separation from the stalk, the grape pulp is then led to a fermentation tank.
C. Fermentation Tanks
As the grape pulp passes from the grape crusher into the fermentation tanks, it begins to ferment at a controlled temperature between 26°C and 30°C.
When fermentation begins, the pomace (peels and kernel) rise to the top of the tank pushed up by CO² (carbon dioxide) and it takes the form of a so-called 'hat'. With the help of a pump, the must is pumped from the bottom of the tank back to the top. It is then left to drop over the pomace which absorbs it (absorption). The maceration of a wine that will be consumed when it is young lasts about 2-3 days. However, in case of an aged wine, maceration can last from about 8-15 days.
Ε. Separation and Pressing
The fermented must (or wine, depending on the duration of maceration) is separated with the help of gravity in order to be transported into another tank where alcoholic fermentation is completed. It is likely that malolactic fermentation will follow here. This is the transformation of malic acid from lactic bacteria into lactic acid which helps to the reduction of acidity. This produces 'unpressed wine'. The pomace, which is now free of liquid, is directed to the winepress to add more wine quantity which is called 'pressed wine'.
Ageing in barrels
Depending on the grape variety and the region, red wines are aged in barrels for a period of 6 months to 4 years. These wines can also be aged in bottles from 2 to many years!
Vinification of sweet wines differs in some point from the corresponding white and red vinifications.
a) In sweet wines (mistelia), we add wine alcohol (or wine spirit) directly to the must, which is not fermented. In this way, all the primary aromas and flavors of the variety they are coming from, are preserved
b) In sweet wines, once the must is partially fermented, the alcohol is added. One part of the total alcoholic strength comes from the natural fermentation, while the rest comes from alcohol addition. They contain primitive aromas as well as aromas produced after fermentation. Those two types belong to the category of liquor wines.
c) Naturally sweet wines come mainly from the sun-dried grapes, which include – because of the dehydration- concentrated must with a high content in sugars. The must is fermented until a certain point and the fermentation is interrupted (usually) by itself, because of the high content in alcohol. In this way, the alcohol included comes exclusively from natural fermentation and the wine preserves a significant amount of the initial sugars.
Tasting a wine means comparing it in terms of quality with other wines. In order to do that, one should know the technique of tasting, should recognize the components that compose the qualitative potential of a wine and finally, should keep in their flavor memory the characteristics of as many types of wine as possible and especially of those that are universally considered as of high quality.
Wine tasting includes the description of the color, the aroma by the nose, and then the description of the flavor by the mouth. The sense of the quality is a point of aesthetics, and this is the reason why it changes with the pass of the centuries and it is difficult to be described. Briefly, the quality of a wine is connected with the intensity and the complexity of the aroma, the flavor richness it leaves in the mouth and the long duration of its aroma.
THE SENSE OF VISION
The observation of the color and the exact tone of the wine is achieved by placing it in a glass which is put at an angle, in front of a white surface. Clean and strong light is necessary. A “white” wine, which liberates from its body green reflections, seems young and has avoided any kind of oxidation. The intensity of the yellow indicates the maturity, the age, the flavor richness, and the staying of the wine in the barrel. The color is also a valuable guide for the identification of the age of the red wines too. Blue tones indicate a much younger wine. Tile-colored and brown tones show the wine’s aging, which is as old as the proportion of these tones in it. A wine’s lucidity is considered to be inseparably connected with its quality.
THE SENSE OF SMELL
The aroma of a wine is divided in primary, which comes from the aromatic substances contained in grapes and in secondary, which comes out during the fermentation, while the yeasts transform the sugar of the must into alcohol, producing at the same time aromatic combinations. There is also the tertiary aroma and the bouquet that are developed later during the stage of the maturity and the aging of the wine. The wine taster must smell the wine before putting it in their mouth. This is why the direct line of smell through the nose is used.
This is the nasal smell or the direct line of smell, which gives the sense of the aroma.
The stirring of wine in the tasting glass liberates more smells and increases the aromatic sense, allowing at the same time the appearance of more smells that derive from “heavier” aromatic components. What we feel when the wine is in the mouth does not concern only the flavor, but also, to a great extent, the aroma, that one can recognize through the line mouth-centre of smell (or indirect line of smell or aroma of the mouth). The taster tries to distinct the intensity of the aroma and its special characteristics. After a careful examination, we are able to identify, within the aromatic whole, an aroma that brings to mind the familiar perfume of a flower or a fruit, the perfume of a dried fruit or a type of wood. A good wine should have intensive, delicate and, at the same time, complex aromatic character.
The basic presupposition for a good wine is the absence of any odors alien to the wine, such as that of sulphur dioxide (a wine’s preservative), which, when in abundance, apart from the direct effects of irritation, eliminates a big part of the wine’s aromas. The oxidation aromas (that smell like an apple), the hydrogen sulphide (bad egg), the mould etc, are odors that indicate a mediocre or bad wine. In sour wines (after the activation of the bacteria of the acetic fermentation), there is plenty of acetic acid (vinegar’s aromas), which together with the ethyl acetate produced (seems like cola stick) covers all the aromas and of course in this case the wine is not “drinkable”.
THE SENSE OF FLAVOUR
The wine is a solution of water and alcohol which contains acids, sodiums, phenolic compounds (tannins and anthocyanins) sugars, esters and many other substances. Each one of them has flavor that corresponds to one of the four basic flavors. The basis of the flavor balance in wine is the balance of two flavor groups. On the one hand, the ingredients of sweet flavor (alcohol, sugars) and on the other hand, acids and tannins, which represent the sour and bitter flavors. In the group of wine’s ingredients of sour flavor we can add the carbon dioxide. A small amount of CO2 offers a fresh, lively flavor, while, when in large quantity, it is noticeable by the pinching and the numbing that provokes to the external edge of the tongue. Regarding the acrid sense that is mainly present in red wines, we can say that the red wine contains phenolic compounds, a group of which are the tannins, which have a bitter flavor and at the same time they give this acrid sense to the wines that contain them. This sense is the outcome of a chemical reaction which is resulted from the joining of the tannins with the proteins of the saliva. The phenolic substances derive from the solid parts of the grapes peel, from the bunch and the kernels. They are responsible (mainly in red wines) for the difference of the flavor quality between two wines. Not all the wine’s tannins have the same chemical composition. In a qualitative red wine, tannins are soft and flexible and they contribute to its rich tannic character, to its volume and body. In the contrary, in another wine the presence of tannins of bad quality (acrid and aggressive) destroys any flavor character it may has and undermines it in terms of quality. Wine aging, by the modification of the tannins polymerism, improves their flavor character, either because it makes them softer, either because it immerses them. Therefore, if the wine is suitable for aging, then it is upgraded in terms of quality.