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CHAPTER 11

The harvest: the elaboration of the grapes

Grapes are an unprocessed product. However, harvesting decisions inevitably modify the taste and composition of the fruit. Would it be legitimate to consider that the winegrower is processing the grape?

In fact, for any winery, the harvest is the most important period of the year. It’s the moment to pick the fruit and benefit from all the worry and hard work of the months spent tending to the vines. It is a hectic, intense and exhausting period, but also bucolic and full of poetry. If successful, it is a cause for great celebration for winegrowers.

But the harvest is not arbitrary. It has a canvas and a backstage, where we can see that it’s a highly technical and professional process. Controls such as “maturity monitoring” are aimed at choosing the optimum time for harvesting, the time when the quality of the grapes is at its peak. To do this, there are different analyses, both laboratory and tasting (for organoleptic evaluation), which enable the best decisions to be made.

This chapter also explains different types of harvest: mechanical, manual, night, etc. All of them, as we shall see, have their strengths and weaknesses.

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