Wine–It’s more than just a good time!


Arista Winery

Arista Winery by Melissa Huebsch 2009


When you uncork a bottle of perfectly aged wine, pour yourself a glass and take in the sweet aroma, do you think to yourself, “Man, I wonder what went into making this glass of Chardonnay I’m about to enjoy?” I didn’t think so. We only think about how good that glass of wine tastes while we’re consuming it.

So what does go into making that bottle of wine? Well, it all starts with grapes, obviously. But not just any table grapes– grapes grown especially for wine. There are the white wine grapes, such as: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris; and then you have your red wine grapes like: Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot Noir.

When the grapes are ready to be harvested, they are brought in from the vineyard to be crushed into grape juice. In red wine, the skins and other extra parts are often left in with the juice; whereas those parts are left out in the making of white wine. Yeast is then added to the juice to start the fermentation process.

Once the fermentation process begins, the mixture is transferred into oak barrels to age.

“The aging time depends on the variety of grapes and what kind of wine you are making, but longer aged wines are usually sweeter and more expensive.”—Megan Jonson, a Cal Poly AgBusiness Sophomore, whose family owns a vineyard

"Stay Thirsty My Friends" Cal Poly Vines to Wines
“Stay Thirsty My Friends” Cal Poly Vines to Wines Meeting

After the wine is bottled and the producer decides it is ready for consumption, a second aspect starts. At a recent meeting of Cal Poly’s Vines to Wines club, Suzy Potts and Judy Donahoe from Southern Wine and Spirits came to speak about the marketing aspect of the wine industry. Potts had one major question throughout the night.

“What image do you convey to your consumers?”—Suzy Potts

Many consumers do not think about the amount of time that is spent on designing even the label that goes on the bottle, let alone the bottle itself. Potts and Donahoe held up a new wine bottle that looked like a pink perfume bottle, asking who the target consumer was—the consensus of the group was trendy women in their 20s and rappers.

The wine industry has been hugely successful in recent years, but vineyard owners are finding that there is a new hurdle to overcome. Grape-eating moths have been found in the California area, which has caused owners to quarantine their property and dispose of all the grapes within the infested area so that the moth doesn’t spread. This has taken a toll on the amount of crop for the year, but the grape growers appear optimistic about the future.

So now, when you open your favorite bottle of Pinot Gris, you can enjoy it even more knowing how much hard work and determination was put into making it delicious. Just for you.


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