The brewing of wine primarily only includes fermentation. Apart from this, certain under steps such as blending and filtration can be considered, but basically fermentation determines the quality of wine. The brewing technology that is employed in China has been discussed with respect to traditional method and how it has evolved before the introduction of modern technology.
The brewing technology that was employed in the production of Wine has been quite different in China. The earliest wine produced in the world was by fermenting grains, fruits and milk under certain natural conditions. However, as discussed earlier the raw material employed in the production of wine in China primarily includes rice and grapes. The production of wine in China on large scale is possible by using grains during ancient period. The technology and mechanism of brewing wine from these has been discussed below.
The brewing techniques that have been employed in China can be divided into categories i.e. natural fermentation and fermentation with Qu. The natural fermentation was introduced in China by western countries while the fermentation with Qu is done for wine made from rice.
The natural fermentation has evolved over the period of time and around 13 methods of making yeasts for fermentation were developed. Based on these different methods the wine of different flavours was brewed. One of the major achievements in wine making in China was the invention and application of red yeast. Red yeast is used not only in fermentation, but is also used as a high quality condiment and natural colouring. However, the microorganisms in red yeast grow very slowly under natural conditions. Thus, various techniques were employed to accelerate the growth resulting in faster fermentation. This was done by selecting fine moulds as seeds and increasing the acidity by adding alum to it. At the same time, the growth of unnecessary moulds was controlled. Water was added in steps to promote the growth of yeast.
The above method that has been discussed is common for wine from both grapes and rice. However, in case of rice which is rich of starch, saccharification is done prior to the fermentation. This is because fermentation of glucose can be done and is effective for making wines. This method is called fermentation with Qu. Saccharification of rice to get glucose is done by using primitive yeast under warm and wet conditions. The wine that is brewed from primitive yeast is sweet and light. Later on distiller was developed containing rich amount of microorganism that are quite useful in wine making. The wine brewed from these distillers is stronger than that brewed from primitive yeast. This technique of fermentation of rice is called hyperbolic fermentation wherein each process of fermentation consists of complicated processes.