The wine harvest reaches its peak in October. Grapes are ripened to perfection and have reached that perfect balance of just the right amount of acid and residual sugar – ideal for winemaking. We’ve already talked about “Do It Yourself Harvesting”, now we’re going to go a bit more into detail and tell you what tools are necessary for an ideal harvest season.
Harvesting Shears & Harvest Crates
It may seem trivial, but if you want to be prepared for harvest season, you always need to start with the most important tool – the harvest scissors. If you use your household kitchen scissors for your harvest, you can be sure that the cut you make on the vines won’t be the best. There are special shears made particularly for the harvest which are made of carbon steel blades with an aluminum body. These shears all called – picking and trimming snips. These shears give a perfectly clean and precise cut to the grape stems. Grape bunches which once cut are set in crates, classic plastic crates are perfect for harvest, are washed and then dried in order to avoid being contaminated with any foreign odors.
Once the grapes reach the wineries, the first thing that needs to be done is remove the stalks. The grapes which are brought in crates, are placed directly in crushers – a machine with a rectangular tub with an incorporated grape sheller. This machine has a rotating cylindrical axis inside a perforated exterior which is capable of destemming a grape bunch without damaging the grapes at all.
Long gone are the days when the manual press was used in the grape harvest. Manual presses were quite laborious to work and were able to work only a limited number of grapes. Today, there are hydraulic presses that allow a faster and less tiring process, without losing any quality. The system is as simple as pulling a lever while simultaneously lowering the pressing plane. This type of tool allows for up to 200 liters of wine production at a time.
Technology comes into play even during the phase of wine bottling, and offers a reliable and effective way of handling this important step. Many years ago, the only way to bottle your harvest wine was to patiently take each and every bottle and cork them individually, risking to oxidize the wine and contaminating it. Luckily there are now machines which bottle wine with particular attention to these very factors. It is a common fact that when white wine comes into contact with air, oxidizes quite easily. Technology makes these steps seamless. When wine is bottled, there is a special pump which suctions out any excess air. It then goes on to fill the bottle through the “isobaric” method, compensating the pressure in the bottle with that present in the machine tank. The next step is then depressurization which creates a constant atmospheric pressure. This is a complex process which requires great care and skill from those working the bottling machines.
There is no proper harvest without a proper cleaning. Each stage described must be accompanied by maximum hygiene, which comply to the Ministry of Health guidelines and of course in order not to compromise the quality of the final product. The olfactory characteristics of wine are definitive elements in judging the quality of a wine, so it is important to make sure these are not tainted in any way. Pressure washers, which run on an engine of 1400 rpm, allow for thorough cleaning of all tools which come into contact with the product. It’s not enough to simply clean your tools with a basic pump and tap water. Greater care and dedication is necessary, and though it may seem somewhat superfluous, it is extremely important.