Alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of grapes. Wine may also be made from various fruits and plant parts. Though known by the ancients, wine was not drunk in its matured form until the development of the bottle and cork in the late 17th century. In wine manufacture, grapes are crushed and strained, and the juice (called must) is sealed in vats along with yeast (Saccharomyees ellipsoideus) and often sulfur dioxide, which suppresses wild yeasts and organisms. Fermentation continues for several weeks, and then the wine is drawn off (“racked”) into wooden barrels or other containers for a second fermentation (“aging”). It is clarified and bottled before undergoing final maturation. Wines may be classified according to colour as red, rosé (pink), or white; colour depends on whether the skins of red grapes are allowed to ferment with the juice. Wine taste is described as sweet or dry, sweet wines being high in sugar content and dry wines containing little or no sugar. Sparkling wines, such as champagne, contain suspended carbon dioxide, the result of bottling the wine before fermentation is complete. Fortified wines, such as port and sherry, contain added brandy. The leading wine-producing countries are France, Italy, Spain, the U.S., Argentina, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Portugal, and Romania.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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