6 things you must know about Grape Harvest

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First of all, let’s shortly explain how the grape harvest works.

We can say that this process is divided in 2 parts:

  • The Grape Harvest.

The first phase of the harvest, carried out during the ripening period of the grapes, is harvesting the bunches. It is a process that must be carried out in the fresher hours of the day. In our case, the grape harvest takes place manually, as was done in the past, without using machines.

In this way, the bunches, carefully chosen from among those without mold, rotten grapes, or other defects, are cut with special scissors and stripped of their leaves.

The selected bunches, in excellent condition for ripeness and appearance, are placed in boxes with a maximum capacity of 20 kilos to prevent the grapes from being crushed and ruined.

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  • The Grape pressing.

If the grapes are harvested sufficiently, you can start preparing the wine: the boxes are emptied into the grape press, and the bunches of grapes are pressed for the first time. At this point, we will get the must.

You must taste it! Everyone likes the sweet grape juice!

The must is then transferred to barrels or large special tanks, remaining until maturation.

What remains are the peels and stalks, the so-called pomace, which are thrown away or used to make grappa or brandy.

 And now, let’s get started! Let’s find out 7 curiosities about grape harvest.

When humans start to harvest?

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The first evidence of the grape harvest dates back to 10,000 BC. in the areas of the Fertile Crescent.

Here, the grape harvest was part of an actual religious ceremony to thank the gods for the fruits reserved by the earth for man.

In Ancient Rome, the so-called “Vinalia Rustica” was celebrated on August 19th: a festival in honor of Jupiter, who ritually began the harvest. The grapes were harvested by hand with tools similar to knives, placed in small containers, and then poured into the “lacus vinaria,” real tanks, where they were pressed with feet. Interestingly, on the days of the harvest, all other activities were suspended: the entire family or family circle gathered to dedicate themselves solely to work in the fields.

Hence, this activity’s social and convivial character is also designed to unite, celebrate, and spend time together.

When the Harvest starts?

In the southern areas, between August and September, early ripening grapes are harvested, those used to produce sparkling wines and those intended for some dessert wines (which will dry on racks).

What influences the start of the harvest?

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Many elements influence the grapes’ ripening: the harvest’s start varies from year to year. It depends on altitude and latitude, exposure, the type of grape and the wine you want to obtain, and the season’s climatic conditions. Suffice it to say that even in the same vineyard, there are no homogeneous temperature and humidity conditions.

Is the harvest affected by climate change?

Of course. The increase in average temperature today leads to harvesting about a month earlier than 30 years ago.

When is the right time to harvest?

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Unripe grapes contain many acids and few sugars. Over time, sugars increase, and acids decrease. When the grapes appear ripe, a sample of the berries is analyzed several times (in the laboratory or with simpler instruments) to understand if the level of sugar and acidity is the desired one.

What time is the harvest?

The hotter the area to harvest is, the earlier it starts in the morning or later in the evening, the ideal time to avoid unwanted fermentations.

In Australia, they are even harvested at night to avoid the heat of the day and to take advantage of the dew to dilute the excess sugar partially.

How many ways of harvesting are there?

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There are two approaches to the harvest: by hand or mechanized, i.e., with a harvesting machine (which sucks the grapes or shakes the branches).

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