A faint and fleeting smell of smoky and woody aromas drifted through the air and hit my senses. I swirled my glass vigorously and took a deep breath trying hard to decipher the trapped aromas in the drink. The instructor’s voice was running in the background talking about the blackberry, peppery, spicy and cinnamon aromas in the drink. Most of them escaped me. Only the bitterness of the drink stayed with me. A rookie oversight, easily. Here, I was at a wine tasting session at Heritage winery – 60kms from Bangalore city on an impromptu road trip, near the toy town of Channapattana.
Art of wine tasting
“Wines are shy in nature. Until you provoke them, they won’t open up”, our instructor – Mr.Shashidhar mused.
“If you want to get high – drink vodka, not wine”, he went on.
In the tasting room, the wine experience begins with smelling the aroma. Swirl the wine vigorously for about 10-15 seconds and inhale the plethora of aromas coming out. Take a sip and before swallowing and bring it to the front of your mouth for about 5 seconds. And then, roll the wine in the upper palate for about 8 seconds. Finally, swallow the wine. Next, draw air through your mouth and concentrate on your brain while exhaling. If you concentrate hard enough, probably you will smell the aroma. Also, two minutes between two sips is ideal to recognize the aromas. Swirl, sniff, and sip, our instructor went on. It may sound simple but I found gauging the aromas really tough. The subtleties of wine tasting totally escaped me at first. By the time, I got to my 4th drink, it was just slowly sinking in.
Fun Fact – There are altogether 298 master wine tasters in the world. And only 7 of them are women. Although, women have 20-25% more taste buds than men. Strange, don’t you think?!
Art of wine making
An informational tour to the factory to understand the process of wine making happens every day at Heritage Winery.
The tour starts with the introduction to crushing machinery which crushes grapes at 5 tonnes/hour allowing free run juice to pour forth. Potassium metabisulfite is added as a preservative to preserve the liquid which will soon be wine.
Yeast makes up for a vital part of wine making. It consumes the food material and converts sugar in the grapes to alcohol, heat and Carbon Dioxide. And, preparation of wine is made in laboratories. Titrations show the amount of acidity available. It goes on with tasting the base wine – 30ml of wine in different glasses and different amounts of sugar ranging from 0.25gms, 0.5gms – 3gms of sugar which results in different levels of acidity and alcohol content.
Centrifugal machinery runs at 10,000 rpm which delivers 90% clarity wine after removing sedimentation. It is then passed through wine softeners to soften the wine and inox tanks serve this purpose. It takes about 35 days on the higher side to make a bottle of wine.
Black grapes make for red wines and green grapes, on the other hand, make for white wines. No colors are added in red wines – it’s a natural Anthocyanin pigment. Wines can be either sweet or bitter. Variety of factors ranging from the kind of grapes to climatic conditions influences the flavor and fruitiness of the grapes.
Fun Fact – Red wine has a chemical called tannin which attacks the saliva. It is viscous in nature and blocks salivary glands – which is why red wines lead to dehydration. White wines, on the other hand, cause salivary activation.
Health tip – Always, eat local black grapes with the seeds. The seeds have a good amount of anti-oxidants. Also, grapeseed oil can serve as an excellent moisturizer.
Feeling a little tipsy after 7 different varieties of wine tasting and piles of information overload, we decided to walk through the vineyard during sunset.
The why and how of Hangovers
Along with wine making and tasting, I felt it’s about time to shed some light on the why and how of hangovers as well – which usually follows excessive drinking. So, the addition of this section. Please bare with me.
While drinking, the body loses water, salt, and electrolytes. 250 ml of alcohol leads to almost 1 liter of urinary output. So, it’s easy to get dehydrated pretty soon. Did you know that you get high when the alcohol reaches the bloodstream? If you have heavy, oily food in your system, this process will take time to pass to your bloodstream and then finally a sudden kick – which is when a lot of people lose control. So, it’s advised to take light food for lunch and dinner while consuming alcohol. The instructor even said that you don’t dream when you consume alcohol. Interesting isn’t it?! If there is no proper absorption, alcohol remains in there and gets blocked. Along with gastric juice, it can cause irritation. One of the symptoms of a hangover.
And you all know the symptoms of a hangover, right? Body pains, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, headache and the likes.
Health tip – Don’t take paracetamol on a hangover. Also, avoid aspirin/dispirin which are vasodilators and alcohol being a blood thinner can be a toxic combination. It’s best to avoid coffee too. Sorry, coffee lovers!
How to cure hangovers
You are not going to like it. But, it’s proven effective. Drink 3-4 glasses of hot water with salt. Go to the washroom, and here it comes – THROW UP. This time, intentionally! Most of the discomfort will be gone. Wait for 10 mins and then have a light breakfast. And 2 glasses of fresh juice. Extra added sugar. Bit of salt. And by evening, you will be as good as new for the next round!
Tours and tastings are conducted seven days a week throughout the year. However, grape stomping is seasonal. Best time to visit the winery would be during the harvesting and crushing months of January to March.
Location – Channapattana, 60 km away from Bangalore(through Bangalore – Mysore Highway).
Timings – 10am to 5pm
In wine tasting, they serve 7 types of in-house wines – 3 dry, 1 carbonated and 3 regular sweet.
Wine tasting and factory tour – Rs. 250/- per head for 1-2 hours.
Grape stomping – Rs. 500/- per head.
Kids 10 years and below are given a free tour.
Also, there is a restaurant at the winery too which is pretty decent.
So, have you ever visited a winery? If yes, how was your experience? Let me know in the comments below. If not, it’s about time you visit a winery around you. I can assure you, it’s going to be worth your while 🙂