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Please, can you translate this?

These dregs are distilled until a clear liquid results that retains, supposedly, the vapors left behind by the grapes gone to the vintner.

I suspect that the author made some grammar mistake because this just doesn't make any sense to me. I don't understand the part with the vintner. The vapors are left behind by the grapes... okay fine, but how does vintner contribute to leaving the vapors behind? Is this everyday English, or is it just a simple thing written in an unnecessary complicated way?

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    "...the grapes that have gone to the vintner." would have been clearer though less effective. Dec 15, 2013 at 18:45

3 Answers 3

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The grapes have gone to the vintner, leaving behind only their vapours.

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    That is, we sent the grapes away to the vintner (who will make wine from them). We have no grapes left ... but supposedly we do still have their vapors, which we can get by distilling the dregs.
    – GEdgar
    Dec 15, 2013 at 13:45
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I find the sentence a bit perplexing. Its wording is awkward at best. Perhaps knowing of whom the sentence speaks (e.g., the folks from whom the grapes come, the folks to whom they were sent, and the folks who are working with the dregs after sending the grape juice(?)--to the vintner) would make the meaning clearer.

At any rate, I THINK what the sentence is saying is that the dregs (the leavings from the first grape pressing, such as seeds, stems, bits of grape skin, and whatnot) which are left behind with the person who did the pressing, can be distilled, yielding a clear liquid that smells like grapes. That's how I understand the sentence.

In other words, by supplying a few words, the order of the process goes like this:

  • The grape farmer grows the grapes in his vineyard
  • He takes the grapes to the folks who press the grapes
  • The juice from the pressing goes to the vintners to make into wine
  • The folks who pressed the grapes take the leavings of the pressing, distill them, and then use that end product--the clear liquid which smells like grapes--for some unspecified purpose or application (or "app," as we say today).
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  • This unspecified purpose is most likely the production of grappa, which is made from distilling the pomace of grape pressings.
    – long
    Dec 15, 2013 at 20:13
  • @long: Thanks for the interesting tidbits (or as the British say, "tit-bits") of information! Dec 15, 2013 at 21:11
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The writer shows confusion and ignorance about the processes of making wine and brandy from grapes. For a start, they are different for white and for red wines. For white wine, the grapes are pressed. The solid residue is used as animal feed, and the juice is fermented by yeast, which converts most of the sugar into alcohol (and carbon dioxide). The resulting alcoholic liquor is settled and filtered to produce wine (which is further matured and filtered) and a residual sludge. This sludge, which is still alcoholic, is heated in an enclosed vessel (a still), and alcohol-rich vapour is condensed from it. This condensate is further distilled to produce a cheap grade of brandy (better brandy is made by distilling wine), which may in turn be processed to produce industrial alcohol. In the case of red wine, the grapes are crushed and the fermentation proceeds before the solid residue is separated. This residue is now alcoholic, and may conveniently be combined with the sludge from the wine-clarifying stage for distillation. The vintner is responsible for producing the wine, and the distiller (who may be the same person or organization) takes products of the vintner to make highly alcoholic products.

The quoted passage attempts to condense the above (already abbreviated) description into one sentence, without even an understanding of what the processes are, or what transformations of substances take place.

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