When should it be harvested?
It is recommended to harvest in conditions of moderate temperature and insolation in order to guarantee a better conservation of the quality of the grape; thus, it is not recommended to harvest grapes wet by rain water , dew or fog, since it can produce a dilution of the quality parameters of the must.
The harvest can be carried out in two different ways depending on the characteristics of each plot, viticulture, the conduction system used, the type of trellis, the availability of the grape harvesting machine and the characteristics of the product to be produced.
There are machines with different grape harvesting systems. The parameters that must be taken into account when choosing the machine are mainly:
• Percentage of bunches and whole berries that you get.
• Amount of must that is produced due to crushing the berries.
• Presence of foreign bodies among the grapes.
• Percentage of losses due to berries that remain on the vine or that fall to the ground.
• Damage caused to the plant.
In order to optimize this type of harvest and avoid the qualitative drawbacks that may arise, special attention must be paid to:
• The correct trellis of the vine.
• Driving and regulating the machine.
• The temperature at the time of harvest – keep it as low as possible –
• The constant cleaning of the machine and the trailers.
By respecting these conditions, oxidation of the must obtained, lacerations of the berries and unwanted macerations, as well as difficulties at the time of settling and the beginning of uncontrolled fermentations will be avoided.
Mechanical harvesting is discouraged when the grapes are not in good health , since a correct selection cannot be made either at harvest or at the winery.
Transportation to the winery
The conditions of the harvest transport systems must avoid the breaking of the berries and possible contamination. Thus, a series of recommendations must be followed:
• Containers used in transport and that are in direct contact with grapes must be made of materials suitable for transporting food .
• The shape and composition of the transport elements must allow adequate cleaning.
• The containers used for harvesting and transport should not exceed 60 centimeters in height , since higher heights cause excessive crushing of the grape.
• The transport of mechanical harvest requires a double bottom system to separate the must from the grape.
• The number of grape transfers should be limited to the minimum possible; if possible, use a single container from the vineyard to the winery.
• Hygiene conditions must be maintained both during harvest and during transport.
• The harvest must be protected from dust, rain and possible contaminants.
• Transportation and pouring into the winery should be done as quickly as possible to avoid uncontrolled fermentation starts.
• The application on the transported grapes of authorized antifungal and antioxidant products (sulfur dioxide, ascorbic acid, inert gases) is recommended if long transport is unavoidable; However, it will be necessary to obtain prior information and follow the instructions of the receiving winery.