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Put simply, a vintner is a winemaker. Yet, many vintners are also involved in selling the wine they produce. A winemaker or seller may own a winery or be an employee of one. For the most part, a vintner tends to be involved in the entire process of wine production, from selecting the grapes to getting the bottled product onto store shelves.
The color and flavor of grapes have a large effect on the finished wine. In addition to light colored grapes used for white wines and darker fruit for red, the picking time is also crucial. While the time the grapes are harvested depends on the decision of each individual vintner, the general rule of thumb is that the fruit used for lighter wines is picked a few months earlier than that used for heavier wine varieties.
After the grapes are selected and picked, they are crushed and pressed. The fermentation process is what changes the grape juice into wine. A vintner uses temperature-controlled equipment to contain the juice so that the wine ferments to his or her liking.
The type of container in which a vintner stores the wine greatly affects its outcome. For example, wines stored in oak barrels pick up many flavors from the wood. These may include spicy accents such as cinnamon or aromatic essences like vanilla. If no extra flavors are wanted, then vintners will use stainless steel or glass containers for wine storage. In some countries, there are government standards that must be met that control how long a certain variety of wine should be stored. In general, the longer a wine stays in a container before bottling, the stronger the flavor.
When it comes to making decisions about bottling the wine, vintners must consider bottle and label design as well as any government regulations for labeling. The vintner decides whether a particular wine would be best with a traditional cork or a screw-on cap. He or she choose a bottle and label that compliments the style of a wine. Sometimes, vintners pick unusual bottle shapes and colors to help their brands stand out on wine store shelves. Wine bottles are typically green, clear, black, brown, or blue.
Many vintners own wine stores, while others sell their products to other companies. A vintner may also market their wines through Internet stores as well as at festivals and events. Having their wines reviewed by critics can help promote vintners' products if the wine is spoken of favorably or wins awards.