Wine is any alcoholic beverage made from fermented fruit juice, but the term is most often used to describe beverages made from fermented grapes. The natural chemical makeup of grapes allows fermentation to occur without adding extra sugar, acid, or other ingredients. Fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast produces grape wine, and the yeast consumes the sugars in the grapes and converts them into alcohol during the fermentation process. Different varieties of grapes and various strains of yeasts produce different types of wine.
Wines made from other fruits (e.g., apples or berries) are commonly named after the fruit from which they are produced, for instance, apple wine or elderberry wine. However, these wines are not as popular as those made from grapes. Some wines are made by fermenting grains, such as Sake made from rice rather than fruit, and these products resemble beer or spirits more than grape wine.
Interestingly, even though wine has been produced for thousands of years, it was not until the early 1860s that anyone knew the process that converted grape juice to wine. Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist proved that fermentation was the process by which wine was produced. His work advanced the ability of winemakers worldwide to replace guesswork with proven winemaking techniques that resulted in improved and more consistent wine quality.
Today, high-quality wines are produced in many areas of the world. The unique characteristics of these various growing regions and the grapes and methods used to produce the wines permit managers to offer their guests a wide variety of wine products at a wide range of competitive prices. Managers sell wines in bottles of various sizes and by the glass. Wines are popular when consumed by themselves as well as when they are consumed with meals and desserts.
Oenology is the science and study of all aspects of wine and winemaking. Many managers spend a lot of time learning about the wines their customers will like best and the specific foods that pair with distinctive wines. However, the most important thing to know about wines is that they are produced to be enjoyed by wine drinkers. As a result, the “best” wine for any customer is the one they enjoy drinking most.
Because top-rated wines range from sweet (those with high sugar content) to dry (those with low sugar content), managers must help their guests know as much as possible about the wines they offer for sale and the taste characteristics of those wines. Managers do this by creating informative wine lists, or wine menus, that inform customers about the wines the customers will be buying.
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