A vintner is simply a winemaker. Many vintners, however, are also involved in the sale of the wine they produce. A winemaker or seller may be the owner or employee of a winery. A vintner is usually involved in every step of the winemaking process, from picking the grapes to getting the finished product onto store shelves.
The color and flavor of the grapes have a significant impact on the final wine. Aside from the light-colored grapes used in white wines and the darker fruit used in red wines, the picking time is also important. While each vintner makes their own decisions about when to harvest their grapes, a general rule of thumb is that lighter wine grapes are harvested a few months earlier than heavier wine grapes.
The grapes are crushed and pressed after they have been selected and picked. The fermentation process is responsible for transforming grape juice into wine. A vintner keeps the juice contained in temperature-controlled equipment so that the wine ferments to his or her liking.
The type of container in which a vintner stores his or her wine has a significant impact on its final outcome. Wines aged in oak barrels, for example, absorb a variety of flavors from the wood. Spices like cinnamon or aromatic essences like vanilla are examples of these. Vintners will store wine in stainless steel or glass containers if no additional flavors are desired. In some countries, government standards governing how long a particular variety of wine should be stored must be met. In general, the stronger the flavor of a wine the longer it sits in a container before bottling.
Vintners must consider bottle and label design, as well as any government labeling regulations, when making decisions about bottling the wine. The vintner decides whether a traditional cork or a screw-on cap is best for a particular wine. He or she selects a bottle and label that matches the wine’s style. Vintners will sometimes choose unusual bottle shapes and colors to help their brands stand out on store shelves. Green, clear, black, brown, or blue wine bottles are common.
Many vintners run their own wineries, while others sell their wares to other businesses. Wines can also be sold through Internet stores, as well as at festivals and events. Having their wines reviewed critics can help vintners promote their products, especially if the wine is well-received or wins awards.