The harvest is the process of harvesting the grapes for the subsequent production of wine. It is a key moment in the process of making any wine, during that time winemakers and winemakers wineries they make a series of decisions that are crucial in determining the characteristics and quality of the wine to be produced.
In summary the harvest It is the process that consists of the collection of the grapes from the vineyard and their subsequent transport to the wineries, where the de-stemming of the bunches is carried out, and the crushing, fermentation, and subsequent pressing is carried out for the extraction of the came.
There is no exact date to start the harvest since it depends fundamentally on the degree of maturity of the grape, which must be at least 10.5º baumé or potential alcohol. In the province of Alicante it usually begins at the end of August, when the green stalk of the vine turns dark and the grape becomes soft and sweet.
La persona que determina su comienzo es el enólogo de la bodega. Mediante un seguimiento de la evolución de las uvas y una serie de análisis técnicos, catas, y pruebas de laboratorio, decide cuando es el momento óptimo de la maduración de la uva.
What is intended is to obtain the healthiest possible fruits, which present adequate concentrations of sugars, acids, tannins, and a whole series of natural components that will determine the characteristics of the wine.
The winegrower tends to want to advance the date due to the risk of rain, which affects the health of the grape, or causes it to fall.
Winemakers, on the other hand, need the grape to meet a series of precise requirements, such as the degree of maturity of the grape, as well as its degree of acidity, and the general health status of the grape.
This aspect is also vital since an operation of these characteristics needs to have a large-scale socio-economic structure capable of organizing all aspects of the process such as foremen, cutters, transporters, warehouse personnel, etc.
At present, grape harvesting continues to be carried out mainly by hand, and the grapes must arrive at the winery quickly and in the best possible conditions.
Plastic boxes or baskets with a capacity of about 18 kilograms are used, as well as vehicles with small dump trucks, which allow the grapes to be transported quickly and hygienically to the presses.
La rapidez es un aspecto fundamental, ya que debido al calor que suele hacer a finales de agosto y principios de septiembre en la provincia de Alicante, se pueden producir oxidaciones del mosto y fermentaciones incontroladas durante el proceso de transporte.
For all these reasons, the harvest is a great logistical operation, in which the organization of the different tasks has both a technical and an economic impact.
It is the one that is used mainly in the province of Alicante, and is necessary for the production of quality wines. It allows us to choose the bunches more selectively, but it involves more production costs and effort. The farmers have to bend down to pick the grapes, fill the baskets, and carry them to the dump truck of the tractor.
It is cheaper than manual, and is usually implemented in large farms that need more labor. To be able to carry it out, it is necessary that the crop is formed in a trellis.
In addition to these two harvesting methods, there are also more special harvests, such as the night harvest, which takes place in very hot areas to prevent the heat from damaging the grapes. There is also late harvest, in which it is expected that the grape is partially dry on the vine in order to increase the concentration of sugars.
During the harvest it is important to respect some rules:
Avoid picking wet grapes, as the water can influence the quality of the must.
During the harvest the warmest hours of the day should be avoided to avoid the unwanted start of fermentation.
The baskets or boxes used must be shallow to prevent the grape bunches from being crushed.
The grapes must be transported in the shortest possible time from harvest to avoid unwanted fermentations.
For wine to exist, the harvest is necessary. The first written references on the grape harvest are found in texts from ancient Egypt of more than 5000 years ago. They refer to the work of collecting the grapes, their subsequent treading to make the must, and the fermentation that will give rise to the wine.
Since ancient times this process was not simply a matter of agriculture, but it was a cultural, religious, and social event; where the harvest was celebrated and the gods were thanked with offerings for the creation of this liquid food.
The Phoenician, Greek, and Roman civilizations also celebrated this event with parties, dances, and celebrations.
The name of the vintage comes from the Latin vindemia, which etymologically means to pluck (demere) the fruit of the vineyard (vinea).
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