To know how many grapes you need to make a bottle of wine, let’s start by identifying more precisely this tree species from which we draw the main ingredient of this precious drink.
Vines are climbing plants that grow by attaching themselves to supports, positioned by man, through the tendrils. On their long stems, grow the leaves that are fundamental to determining the species of a vine. The fruits of the plant are the grapes, which can be yellow, purple or bluish; from the pulp of this fruit, the must is obtained. This is the beginning of a journey from the grape to the glass. But in this path that has its roots in the most authentic oenological history, how do quantities behave? How many grapes will become wine? Let’s explore this essential aspect for each wine producer.
What are the steps of wine production?
Wine production is a delicate process that runs through the entire supply chain, from the vine to the bottle, and includes seven main phases. It is a branched knowledge, made up of different traditions and schools of thought, uses and methods among the most varied. Below is a list of the most common phases of wine production:
As a piece of purely indicative information, we can say that a vine that is healthy and in normal environmental conditions can produce an average of 3 kilograms of grapes per vine.
The quantity may seem considerable if you think that a vineyard is composed of numerous rows of vines. However, the yield of the grapes is never 100% but differs considerably depending on the grape variety and the method of cultivation, ranging between 30% and 70%.
One of the most frequent practices of producers who want to obtain a high-quality wine and which has a considerable influence on the yield of wine production is the so-called green pruning. This ancient technique is essential for the plant to “give its best” and concentrate tastes and aromas in a few grapes full of flavor and nuances. This operation is crucial for the production of good quality Nebbiolo. Contrary to what one might initially think, often the objective of working in the vineyard is to limit the production of grapes, trying to concentrate all the good quality in a few bunches, obviously without the plant being affected. The search for a balance between quality and quantity is, therefore, essential.
Another concept to always take into account is that the amount of grapes produced by a vine is not a fixed figure but, on the contrary, it is determined by a series of factors that make it variable. First of all, the natural characteristics of the soil in which the vineyard is located. Even how the vineyard is treated can affect the quantity produced: rows too far apart, or vines with branches too long that can lead to a poorer harvest may lead to different outcomes.
The art of winemaking, therefore, always starts from the care and deep knowledge of the grape variety that is cultivated.
How much wine does 1kg of grapes make?
Once we have explained how many grapes a vine can potentially produce, depending on the factors that influence its harvest, we can hypothesize how much wine is made with 1 kg of grapes.
Once the amount of grapes that are harvested is determined, it is time to deal with the yield of the harvest. Of the grapes in the tank, the amount of wine that we will be able to extract from it will be conditioned by many parameters and by the phases and length of the entire winemaking process. It is important to note that the thickness of the skin – which depends on the variety of the grape but also on the year – has its weight that affects the yield, as well as the grapefruits. The skins are then separated to follow a different path towards the distillery.
Taking the example of 1 kilogram of grapes, the production of wine will equal about 70 milliliters. In fact, the output is generally 70%. Not all types of grapes, however, retain the same percentage: this usually, among the most common vine varieties, ranges between 65% and 75%. The winemaker, in addition to knowing the behavior in terms of specific yield of the variety he cultivates, will have to deal with the characteristics of the single year in order to determine how many liters of product can be produced at each harvest.
For example, for wines with a DOCG or DOC label, the result of the grapes per hectare is established by the appropriate regulations governing the same denominations.
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How many grapes does it take to make a bottle of wine
Consequently, how many grapes does it take to make a bottle of wine? Being the capacity of a bottle of wine, generally, 75 milliliters, to bottle one we will need approximately 1 kg of grapes. This maintains the most common proportion explained in the previous paragraph.
In conclusion, a thorough knowledge of your vineyard and the stages of wine production is essential to obtain a product that meets the established criteria and that is in the perfect balance between quality and quantity.