General characteristics of wine grapes
Wine grapes, through an elaborate process of alcoholic fermentation (total or partial), generate one of the most famous and important beverages in the world. Italy is the largest producer of wine grapes, but other important countries such as France and Spain also produce large quantities of this kind. The grape is a fruit appreciated for its great organoleptic and nutritional characteristics. In fact it is rich in carbohydrates (glucose and fructose, in the measure of 15%), in fiber and with good amounts of protein; while it is decidedly low in fat (only 0.1%). On 100 g we have a 61Kcal intake. It also has a good amount of mineral salts (a lot of potassium, but also phosphorus and copper) and vitamins (those of group B and vitamin C). The vine species from which all the vines derive is the Vitis vinifera, a plant native to Europe and western Asia.
The grapes most used by winemakers
In Italy there are many types of native grapes (455, a true world record). But not all of them have a great diffusion and cultivability, since some varieties are closely linked to a specific territory. So we can also have a very small production with only a few hectares of cultivated species. So the grapes most used by winemakers are those that meet certain commercial and environmental requirements, as well as the fundamental organoleptic aspects related to the type of wine to be produced. From this point of view, the one that best meets these requirements is Sangiovese, which alone covers 10% of the vineyard surfaces of the grapes. Other important and widespread vines are the Tuscan Trebbiano, the Montepulciano, the Sicilian white Catarratto and the Barbera.
The finest wine grapes
The most widespread variety does not coincide with the more valuable one. We remember, in fact, that there are very valuable grapes that grow in specific and very limited territories. The list of excellent vinification grapes is however long; we will consider those universally recognized as such. It should be remembered that a variety is good relative to wine; this is often the product of a mixing of different species of grapes. The following are certainly worth mentioning: Chardonnay (common in France and northern Italy), Barbera (the namesake of the famous Barbera, in fact), Nebbiolo (one of the oldest), Moscato D'Asti (among the most prized in the world ), Merlot (red, originating from Bordeaux), Falanghina (white Campania), Aglianico (an excellence, perhaps the best of all, is widespread in Basilicata, in vulture), Nero D'avola (Sicilian), Primitivo (highly appreciated from Puglia), Fiano (which produces the wonderful Fiano di Avellino) and Greco (from Campania, produces Greco di Tufo, one of the best whites in the world).
Wine grapes: Treatments for wine grapes
There are many pitfalls that threaten such production. These pitfalls, however, thanks to a constant commitment, can be avoided or reduced. To avoid problems to the plants it is essential to intervene through specific and decisive treatments. These treatments are carried out using pesticides. To carry them out, it is necessary to contact local winegrowers' organizations and federations, as they relate to the vintage and the type and size of the vineyard. For mold (dangerous for the decrease in acidity, especially Botrytis cinerea) and premature fermentation, potassium metabisulfite is used, sprinkling the grapes. The grape, once the must is obtained, will undergo a process of correction of acidity (addition of acids), of alcohol increase (with a gram of sugar a proportional increase of 0.6% of alcohol will be obtained).