In today’s article we will discuss how we determine at Bodegas Loli Casado when the grapes have reached their optimum point of harvest, and the monitoring that must be done prior to the harvest through a visual and sensorial control of the grapes.
During the month of September we have to start thinking about the beginning of the grape harvest. In our area it is usual to start harvesting the white grapes towards the end of September and the reds at the beginning of October. Therefore, it is necessary to visit our vineyards more frequently during the ninth month of the year, walk among the vines, feel the clusters, see the freshness of the leaves… in short, to understand at what stage the ripening process is at and how it can evolve.
As the month progresses, the frequency of the tours will increase. At first it will be weekly, then every 3-4 days, and when harvest time approaches, it will be every two days. We will walk through each plot of the vineyard observing every detail of interest.
To decide when to harvest, grapes from different parts of the cluster -shoulders, tips- will be picked randomly at various points along the plot.
Once the grains have been harvested, we will evaluate the two maturities that occur in the grain:
-Glycometric maturation or accumulation of sugars in the must. For this, once we squeeze part of the berries, we will take a few drops of the must obtained and put it in the sight glass of a refractometer. The reading on the scale will indicate the probable degree that the must of this grape would have if it were fermented at that moment.
-The phenological or skin maturation of the bean will be determined with a sensitive method in the mouth. To do this, we will take 3 or 4 of the grains without looking at the rest of them. We will make a visual examination of the color of the bean, the elasticity and recovery of its shape after exerting a slight pressure with our fingers. Then we will put them in the mouth and exerting pressure between the tongue and the roof of the mouth, we will remove the seeds. Without swallowing anything, take the seeds to one cheek, the skins to the other and pass the must over the tongue and the roof of the palate, perceiving sweet, sour, bitter, greenish sensations. …. We will chew the skins a certain number of times, and after passing it over the tongue, gums and palate, we will perceive astringent sensations to a greater or lesser extent. Finally, we will observe the color, texture and elasticity of the seeds. The interpretation of these data and sensations will give us information about the ripening of the skin.
Once both processes have been carried out, one more scientific so to speak, more objective, and the second, more based on sensations and more subjective, we will have enough data to understand the state of the grapes and we will be ready to determine when we should start with the harvest.
That said, this is the end of this article. Next week we will continue talking about the history of wine; what happened after its emergence and expansion. If you enjoyed this article, we invite you to stop by our YouTube channel, where every Saturday we upload a video dealing with the same topic as here in greater depth.