Harvesting Grape Varietals

September 9th, 2016

Posted in Harvest

We all enjoy wine in the bottle, but have you thought about how wine is made? Our winemaker oversees the process and selects the blocks of grapes that are picked each day through the two month harvesting season. We are giving you our top harvesting insights.

Examine and Taste

Grapes

We start by examining the grapes. Looking for grapes that are rich in color, not green. A ripe grape will crush easily allowing the winemaking process to run smoothly. Once we identify the correct color, we taste each grape for a uniform sweetness, this shows that the grapes have had time to ripen and mature, allowing the natural flavors of the grape to come out. Grapes are different than many fruit where there is a short window to harvest because once picked off the vine they will not continue to ripen or sweeten.

Sugar Content

Grapes being harvested

Each variety of grape develops special flavors and certain sweetness that we call varietal flavor. Wine grapes are much sweeter than table grapes, which makes a difference when harvesting. Sweetness comes from sucrose in grapes which is measured in Brix. Brix is a term that the brewing industry uses to measure the sugar content and estimates the alcohol level of wine. When ready, we taste our grapes and pay attention to the aftertaste. If the taste is pleasant and the balance between sweetness and acidity is perfect, then they are ready to harvest. If we taste a bitterness that means there are flaws and the sugar, acidity Ph balances are off. 

Hand Picking

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Once our grapes are set to perfection, we start our harvesting process. We believe in the old age wine process of hand picking, instead of the more modern way of machine picking. Handling the grapes with hands allows us to preserve the integrity of the fruit, which leads to better quality wine. After the grapes are picked from the vine it’s straight to the winery so the temperature and exposure to oxygen won’t deteriorate their quality.