All grapes belong to the "Vitis" genus; there are about forty species, all native to the temperate zone. The important grapes that make wine are called "Vitis Vinifera" which means the "wine bearer." There are thousands of varieties of "Vinifera" that have been identified, and there are several hundred that have recognizable characteristics and are cultivated.
Viticulture is basically everything that is done in the growing of wine grapes and vineyard management. Farming practices such as canopy management, varietal clone, cover crop, grafting of the vine, irrigation, microclimate, organic, biodynamic, photosynthesis, pruning, ripening, rootstock, terroir, trellising, vine vigor and vine yield.
Viniculture is what happens to the grapes after harvest in order to turn them into wine. These are the three general categories of wine. You will find these categories in wine departments and in most restaurants.
Sensory Evaluation Of Wine
This is a basic formula of what a winemaker does - bringing all the elements together to make a certain style of wine.
The Style of Wine = Wine Structure (alcohol+sugar+acid+tannin) + Wine Character (all aromas and flavors)
New World History
On the west coast, the first Californian Mission was established on July 16, 1769 by Padre Junipero Serra. Over the next 70 years the Franciscan monks established dozens of missions up the coast of California and planted vines to make sacramental wine and for sale. On the east coast, Thomas Jefferson, the ambassador to France between 1784 and 1789, brought the French wine culture to the area. The Gold Rush in 1849 brought new immigrants from Italy, Portugal, and Germany, bringing their unique styles
Wines of the Southern Hemisphere
Australia and New Zealand wines are known around the globe for their good value and quality. Both countries have made huge strides in quality in the last 20-30 years. The first vines planted in Australia came from cuttings imported from South Africa at the end of the 18th century. Australia had no native vines. Much of the early progress of viticulture occurred from 1820 to 1840 when many vitis vinifera vines were imported from Europe. Immigrants greatly affected the development of viticulture: Italians in the Riverlands, Germans in the Barossa, Slovakians in Swan Valley and Swiss in Yarra.
Wines of France
Wine has been produced in France for centuries. The Greeks brought grapes to the south of France around 600 B.C. The areas of production expanded under Roman rule. Following the Roman era much of southern France was invaded and occupied by the Moors. Wine production and grape growing consequently expanded in the northern areas. During this period and through most of the Middle Ages, the church controlled most of the wine production. The holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, established stability in France in 800 A.D. Charlemagne established wine laws that improved wine production and transport. Through the nineteenth century France continued to become more important in the wine world internationally. It was Louis Pasteur's work, at the Bordeaux Institute of Oenology, in the 1800's that laid the groundwork for much of today's modern winemaking.
Wines of Germany
Germany is the northernmost country where grapevines can grow successfully. Consequently, the history of German winemaking does not go back as far as that of Italy or even France. Most experts agree that the Romans brought viticulture to the outskirts of the empire around the first century A.D. Encouraging agriculture and trade helped the Romans establish stability amongst the warlike Germanic tribes. In some German estates today you can see displayed Roman artifacts and references to the Roman involvement in wine production.
Wines of Italy
Italy has a long history of winemaking. The Phoenicians in 2000 BC landed in what is now Puglia and found that wine was being made and sold. The Etruscans in the North of what is now Italy were also producers of wine. Under the regime of the Greeks wine production and trade flourished. The Romans improved upon Greek methods of viticulture and winemaking and expanded the wine trade throughout Italy and into other parts of Europe.
Wines of Portugal
Portugal produces about 78 million cases of wine. This small country exports about 25% of what it produces accounting for about 3% of the world's wine exports. At one point, Portugal was very significant in the American market with its still wines. Lancers and Mateus were huge brands in the through the 1980's. Today these wines still have a presence in some markets. The most important wine from Portugal in the marketplace, however, is Port.
Wines of Spain
Vine plantings in Spain date back to 1100 B.C. It is believed that the Phoenicians brought vines to an area near the town of Cadiz very near to where Sherry is produced today. Spain, however, did not enjoy the continuity as many other European countries. During the period that Monestaries were developing viticulture in France and Germany, Spain was under the control of the Moors. Wine production was not a priority. In the mid to late 1800's more quality-oriented wine producers migrated to Spain. When phylloxera devastated the vineyards of France many French producers moved to Spain (more specifically Rioja) and began to introduce winemaking techniques and viticultural practices.