The Role of Harvest in Wine Production and Grape Growing
These variables are studied with consideration to the varietal type. Vitis Vinifera varietals are normally harvested at 19-23 degrees Brix, over .7% acidity and with a pH of less than 3.4. Random samples of grapes are checked in the laboratory leading up to harvest.
However, there is no substitute for actually tasting the grapes and quality growers rely on their taste buds over technical data. The correct harvest procedure is extremely important to ensure that grapes arrive at the wine making facilities in excellent condition. There are two types harvesting methods used;
Hand harvest has the benefit of adding human reasoning and care to the equation. Many variables must be taken into account to maximize quality. Rotten or unripe clusters can be excluded. There is also a reduced chance that the grapes will be damaged in the process.
A mechanized harvest machine will generally pick about 5 tons of grapes per hour. This is the work of 100 hand pickers. If time is of essence, this is often the best option. Many growers mechanically harvest their crop at night when temperatures are low. This helps to ensure high quality fruit and avoids premature fermentation.
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