- 16 December 2011
- Last Updated: 22 November 2012
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The last possibility to check the harvest
For grapes harvested by machine the receiving bin of grapes is the last moment where you can check the status of the harvest before it disappeared inside a tank. If you are allowed to stand near, take the opportunity to observe in what state comes the harvest at the winery. Several things need your attention:
If there are many pieces of wood or leaves: it is not very serious because these debris will be removed before entering the tank. However, this may indicate that these grapes come from old vines poorly designed for machine harvested.
The grape is crushed: there is much concern as the phenomenon of oxidation (the sun and heat) quality deteriorates very quickly especially if the grower takes time to fill his trailer (noon laying or mechanical problem). Some harvesting machines harvest the berries almost without breaking them. It also requires well-designed vineyards for mechanical harvesting (some old vines in France are not adapted to machines).
The photos, below, shows what should be avoided. Large trailers require more time to be fulfilled, therefore the oxidation of the harvest also increases, and this is not good. The weight of the grapes extract the juice from the berries underneath, which is very bad. These large trailers (3-5 tons) are normally not used in AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin).
In the following photos we see many leaves and branches. A trained eye can deduce that the speed of the harvesting machine and the frequency beating the vines should be excessive. A good conductor must adjust his machine according to the vineyard that he is going to harvest. Unfortunately these machines are sometimes bought at several and so many people use them without really being responsible. The dilution of responsibilities is always a source of lower quality. The good news is that in AOC area, the winemaker must take care of his vineyard for it lasts long, gives a wine of quality and thus brings in money. In this case the owner of the vineyard will ensure personally that the machine does not shake his vines too much.
In appelation area one must be careful with his vineyard for it lasts long and gives a wine that will be improved every year (thus, it will bring more and more money). Outside these areas the logic of production is not the same: vinegrowers prefer the young vineyards that produce many and fast. However, with experience you will find passionate producers who make outstanding wines even outside areas of appelation : at that time you will be proud to share your discovery with your friend (s)..