Grape harvesting – when and how to harvest your vineyard

Grape harvesting – when and how to harvest your vineyard

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Grape Harvesting

Grape harvesting is one of the most important processes for grape growers. In many countries, harvesting day is so important that growers organize a celebration to celebrate the event.

Grape harvesting time typically begins 30–70 days after fruiting, when the color of the grapes changes from green to yellow (for white varieties), or reddish-purple (for red varieties).

During this phase, there is usually an increase in fruit sugars and a decrease in acid. In general, in the Northern Hemisphere, most varieties ripen from August to November, while in the Southern Hemisphere from March to August.

However, it is not easy to define the exact time of grape harvesting. Environmental conditions, soil type, variety conditions, and cultivation techniques play an important role in the quality of the final product.

To obtain the desired quality characteristics, growers harvest different types or varieties at different maturity stages.

Producers need to define some features, such as:

For grapes that produce red wine:

Sugar-acid ratio
Amount of phenolics
Tannin
Flavon

For grapes that produce white wine:

Sugar-acid ratio
Taste

For the grapes used for eating:

Sugar-acid ratio
Shape

For this reason, during the final maturity stage, from the start of fruit ripening to changing color, growers monitor the weather daily with the grapevine inspected to prevent potential infection or damage.

To decide whether the crop is ready for harvesting, many growers use portable refractometers that measure the amount of sugar in the grapes.

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Grape being harvested at a vineyard.

These portable devices detect degree BRICS. The degree Brix (or Brix only) is the measurement of glucose levels. 1 degree of Brix is ​​equal to 1 gram of sucrose in a 100 gram solution. Ubiquitously, the BRICS method is used to determine the maturity of fruits, the production of alcohol predicted for wine varieties, and the amount of sugars.

Typically, wine grape varieties are harvested at 12–24 ° Brix, while grape varieties eaten are usually harvested at 12–20 ° Brix. Seedless varieties that are eaten are harvested at 16–20 ° Brix, while seeded grapes are usually harvested at 13–14 ° Brix.

Hand grapes harvested

In most cases, the grapes are harvested by hand. Harvesting is done using knives and / or manual or electric scissors. After all the flakes are cut, employees place them in baskets and ship them to wineries (varieties of wines) or to specialized warehouses (varieties to be eaten). Varieties eaten can only be harvested by hand. They cannot be cut mechanically, as this may damage them. After cutting, the varieties to be eaten are cooled and sent to packaging warehouses.

Mechanical harvesting of grapes

This method is especially used for wine varieties. Sophisticated machines run through the rows of vineyards and use rubber or other materials to move the vines so that the grapes fall on the cavern belt. After collecting, the outer materials are removed through a series of traps, and finally, the grapes are collected in a special repository.

They are then immediately sent to the winery. These harvesting machines are worth millions of dollars. However, many growers state that they have great difficulty in hiring many trained workers at harvest time.

Therefore, they consider mechanical harvesting of grapes so that they can harvest large portions of the vineyard in a day, without having to worry about finding and appointing groups of trained staff. However, if the skin of the grapes is very thin, mechanical harvesting is not suitable. In such a case, a lot of grapes will burst, and that can lead to oxidation and germ growth.

Grapes are sensitive fruits. Immediately after harvesting, growers try to send them to packaging institutions (grapes to be eaten) or wineries as soon as possible. Refrigerator tractors are needed for the grapes that are to be sent far away.

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