Wine Making - Negociants,

The Art of Good Science

In Australia, negociants play a significant role in the wine industry, particularly in the production and distribution of wine. Negociants, also known as wine merchants or wine brokers, are individuals or companies that source grapes, juice, or finished wine from vineyards and wineries to create wine blends or labels. The process of making wine by negociants involves
several key steps:

  1. Grape Sourcing: Negociants typically establish relationships with multiple vineyards and growers across different regions. They carefully select grapes based on desired characteristics such as variety, quality, and flavour profile.
  2. Harvest and Transportation: Negociants coordinate with the vineyards to determine the optimal harvest time. This may involve logistics planning to ensure the grapes arrive in optimal condition. Once harvested, the grapes are transported to the negociant's winemaking facility.
  3. Sorting and Crushing: Upon arrival at the winemaking facility, the grapes are sorted to remove any unwanted materials like leaves or stems. Depending on the desired winemaking technique and style, they are then crushed or de-stemmed.
  4. Fermentation: The crushed grapes, or must, undergo fermentation. This process involves converting the sugars in the grapes into alcohol with the aid of yeast. Fermentation may occur in stainless steel tanks, oak barrels, or a combination of both, depending on the desired flavour and structure.
  5. Blending and Aging: Once fermentation is complete, negociants may blend different grape varieties or wines from various vineyards to create their desired flavour profile. This process allows them to craft unique and consistent wines. After blending, the wine is aged in tanks or barrels to develop complexity and enhance its characteristics.
  6. Bottling and Labeling: After aging, the wine is ready for bottling. It is transferred to bottles that are sealed with corks or alternative closures. Labels are affixed, providing essential information about the wine's origin, grape variety, vintage, and the negotiant's branding.
  7. Distribution and Marketing: Once the wine is bottled and labelled, negociants distribute their products to various channels, including wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, and
    direct-to-consumer platforms. Marketing efforts are undertaken to promote and sell the wine to consumers.

Negociants play a valuable role in the Australian wine industry, offering diverse wine options and showcasing the country's viticultural diversity. It is important to note that the specific process may vary among negociants, as each has its approach and style. However, the core principles of sourcing grapes, fermentation, blending, and bottling remain essential skills in producing exceptional wine.