Technical Corner: Harvest

The harvest marks the end of the growing cycle which is made up of winter dormancy, the bud break, flowering, the fruit set, veraison, picking and lastly the leaf fall. It is the process of gathering mature grapes from the vines, usually by hand, but often using machinery depending on the size of the vineyard or winery. They are then taken as quickly as possible(where distances are involved, wineries use refrigerated lorries to stop early fermentation) to the winery where they are sorted before the beginning of the winemaking process. The decision to pick the grapesdepends on thegrape variety and climatic factors such as temperature, rain,and, in cooler climes, even hail. There is not one benchmark for ripeness and much of the decision will depend on the style of wine the winemaker wishes to make. In hotter climates such as Lebanon, Spain and California the ripening can happen as early as 30 days after veraison, the onset of ripening, the while in cooler climates such as France and Germany it can take twice as long. In Lebanon, and the rest of the Northern hemisphere, the harvest season typically falls between August and October. In the Southern hemisphere it falls between February and April.


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