Posts Tagged ‘Grapes’

The Two Worlds Of Wine – Old and New

The old maxim says ‘Great wines are made in the vineyard’. Nonetheless, there’s a divide between “New World” and “Old World” when figuratively these terms are used to describe viticulture or wine making practices.


The term ‘New World’ wine is attached to the wines coming from countries, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa or Argentina who began producing wines only after European colonization. In contrast, ‘Old World’ wine has been made and savored in the European and the Mediterranean countries like France, Italy, Spain, and Germany for over thousands of years.


One is curious how different it can get between the two worlds then. We give you the story…..


In Viticulture

  • Over centuries, the Old World wine regions have developed viticultural techniques and practices adapted to their unique climates and landscapes. In the Old World, vine density is higher and plantings are done at close proximity while in the New World, one would find lower vine density and more spacing between the plantings. This has enabled mechanization of some processes e.g. mechanical pruning and harvesting.


  • Old World producers draw upon their centuries of wine production and inherited wisdom. They hand prune and hand pick their harvest to ensure the best quality wines. On the other hand, New World producers experiment with new wine styles and innovative technologies. This helps them to respond to changing market needs faster. For example, they introduced new wine closures and packaging, such as screw cap, driven purely by consumer needs.



In Wine making

  • Old World wines are more traditional and ‘terroir’ driven whereas New World wines are typically bolder and fruit forward, in general more varietal driven.


  • Old World wine making,with its focus on ‘terroir’, places more emphasis on the role of ‘mother-nature’ in determining wine quality and how well a wine highlights the traits of the place where it originated. In contrast, the New World philosophy generally places more emphasis on the winemaker and the appropriate use of scientific and technological best practices to bring out the fruit flavors of a wine.


  • Wine regions in an Old World country are generally defined around a particular wine style and the same grape (red or white) may be grown to produce several different wines within a region. For example, Bordeaux and Burgundy are wine producing regions in France after whom the wines are named. As New World regions have gained the understanding of what variety grows best where,they are now focusing on particular grape varieties and the development of wine styles that are unique to the region.



Although some traditionalists believe that Old World wines are superior to New World wines, qualitatively, there is no evidence to believe that Old World wines are better than New World wines or vice versa. What is true is that they are different. Old World wines are more tannic and earthy with more layers of complexity while New World wines are bold, fruity and oaky.

In recent times, the globalization of wine has helped in blurring the dividing line as New World wine producers discover ‘terroir’ and Old World producers discover ‘fruit’.


Old or new, we love all. Just give us the Wine!

Categories: Tips Tags: , , , ,

Vine To Wine

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

In September, we had done a feature on the stages of grape-growing – Nine Hills Vineyard Cycle. With this feature, we take you on the journey of the grapes from being harvested to when it’s ready to be sipped as wine – the Vine to Wine journey.

  • Ripening & Plucking of Grapes:
    • When the grapes are ripe enough and reach the right brix level, our winemaker plucks a handful to find out if they taste just right, chews the seeds and measures the sugar content. Once satisfied that the time has come, he gets his team of vineyard workers to harvest the grapes.
    • As they set out to harvest their produce, vineyard workers aim to do it in the shortest possible time, early in the morning.
    • They collect all the grapes in large crates which are then rushed to the winery for crushing

  • Crushing of Grapes: No, in wineries, they do not crush the grapes with their feet. It is considered unhygienic — They use pneumatic presses. Red wines are produced by de-stemming and crushing the grapes into a tank and leaving the skins in contact with the juice throughout the fermentation. Most white wines are processed without de-stemming or crushing and are transferred from picking bins directly to the press.
  • Fermentation: The juice, skins, and seeds (not for white wines) are poured then into stainless steel fermenting tanks. Special wine, cultured yeast is added at this stage to this grape juice. Fermentation begins when the yeast begins to feed on the sugars present in the grape juice. Carbon dioxide and alcohol are by-products of this process.
  • Aging: Once the grape juice has fermented into wine, the wine is poured into barrels/tanks for aging. During the aging process, the wines change tanks/barrels several times in order to remove solids from the bottom of the tanks.
  • Bottling: When our winemaker is satisfied that the wine is now ready to move from the barrels/tanks, they are bottled where the wine will stay and continue to age. Once the wine in the bottle is ready, it is then shipped and sipped by you and me!!!

Say Cheese. Say Cheers.

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

A recent post on our Facebook page, “Cheese and Grapes – Divine Combination” with a matching photograph, garnered quite a few ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. This prompted us to do a complete blog-post on how superbly cheese compliments wine, their specific pairing.

The globe-trotting Indians need not depend on foreign tours or duty-free stores in airports for their regular stock of good cheese. Several high-end super-marts across our cities now stock a wide range of cheese from the best brands around the world. Be it the softer varieties like Feta, Mozarella, goat cheese or the hard ones like cheddar, Edam, Provolone from the choicest of hamlets in Europe, you get them all in our country.

But just as wine-drinking is new in India, so is the appreciation for cheese. We therefore bring to you a feature which does not delve into an exotic and uber discussion on cheese and wine. For ‘starters’ let’s take the cheese that are easily available in the market and see how well we can pair them with our Nine Hills wines.

  • Cheddar:   Hails from England, is semi-hard and can be mild or sharp. The mild cheddar goes well with Sauvignon Blanc while you will love the sharp one with our Shiraz Reserve.
  •  Edam: Belongs to the Dutch country and is a hard cheese. Once again, you will simply love it with Nine Hills Shiraz Reserve.
  • Feta: This soft cheese comes from the currently financially-troubled country in Europe, Greece. Drink it with Nine Hills Sauvignon Blanc and see how it opens up the taste buds in your tongue.
  • Goat Cheese: Primarily a product from France, a number of other European countries excel in it too. It belongs to the soft cheese category and blends most beautifully with Nine Hills Chenin Blanc.
  • Mozarella: The country which gave the world Michaelangelo, gave Mozarella cheese too. A widely used cheese in pizza, pasta dishes and lasagna, mozzarella can be Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella) or mozzarella fior di latte (made from cow’s milk). Both are the soft variety and blend well with light red wines and the white wines. Nine Hills’ Sauvignon Blanc is the best match.
  • Parmesan: Named after an area in Italy, Parmesan is one of the world’s most popular and widely-enjoyed cheeses. It is usually grated and is used to make spaghetti and pasta dishes. Pairs exceedingly well with Nine Hills’ Shiraz Reserve.
  • Provolone: Once again from Italy, this cheese belongs to the semi-hard category. Provolone can be both piquant in taste (Provolone Piccante) as well as mild and sweet, Provolone Dolce. Both the types go well with Nine Hills Cabernet Sauvigyon.

Finally, there is no final word on ‘which cheese for which wine’. But remember, at the outset, the cheese you choose is dependent upon the type of wine you choose. Stronger cheeses should be paired with stronger wines, such as Cabernet. Lighter cheeses are best paired with delicate wines such as a Sauvignon Blanc.

Lastly, experiment with your own pairings and see if you can come up with a new ‘divine’ combination.

Cheese. And Cheers!!

Nine Hills Vineyard Cycle

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Rains in Mumbai can make you feel that, “God has opened the water tap and forgotten to close it…..” With hardly any sun for almost three whole months (June, July and August), one then wonders how are the vines faring in the Nashik Hills. This fear was immediately put to rest by our experts at the vineyards who said that regular monsoon has no adverse impact on viticulture. Instead, the water is absolutely necessary for a good growth. What really troubles the viticulturists is lack of rainfall or erratic rains due to shift in climatic patterns, but we will talk about global warming and its fallout on grape-growing in a later issue…..

In this issue, let’s peek over the fence of the Nine Hills vineyards and find out what do the farm hands do all year round to get the best grapes for the wines…

Come September and in the third week, it will be time for the vines to shed their ‘excess baggage’ and go in for a good ‘trim’, nay prune. In a matter of just 7-8 days, green shoots start appearing on the stems so pruned. In viticulture parlance, this is called ‘Sprouting’, as seen in the picture…

By the 3rd-4th week of October, the vines start flowering heralding the coming of berries by the first week of November.

These grow over the next few weeks and by end December, the berries start ripening. Berry ripening starts with color break (in color grapes varieties) and softening of berries. As it grows further sugar starts accumulating in berries and acid starts degrading. This stage of initiation of ripening is termed as Veraison.

Finally, by end January, the grapes have ripened enough and are ‘mature’ enough to be plucked. Feb-March is the time when the grapes are plucked, stomped and handed over to the winery for the final journey.

Thus concludes the growth-cycle. Cheers.