Winemaking consultant and wine grape educator Denise Gardner joined me recently to talk about how pre-harvest and harvest actions in the vineyard and winery impact wine quality. In today’s blog we recap 5 harvest time wine making mistakes to avoid.
- Improper Spraying In addition to always, always being conscious of the PHIs (pre-harvest intervals) of spray products, growers need to also avoid spray products that can interfere with fermentation or that may leave a residual that is either harmful or off putting in the wine.
- Misaligned Interested – Grower & Winemaker
Growers often focus on yield and prioritize grapes looking clean and healthy (often because winemakers want pristine grapes). And, growers also have a tendency to focus on Brix and to a lesser degree acid in the form of pH. On the other hand, winemakers are most often looking at acid in the form of TA, in addition to things like seed ripeness and flavor development in the skin. These parameters are independent of Brix accumulation to some degree, and thus, picking times really require solid communication and understanding between the grower and winemaker.
- Skipping Juice Analysis
Not being set up to do juice analysis on harvest day basically means decisions are being made blindly at this phase. Without juice analysis data, you cannot properly make processing adjustments based on the fruit that was harvested.
- Don’t Get Complacent
Just because harvest is over doesn’t mean the wines are finished. Too often people just treat the wine with SO2 and assume it’s good. Any time a wine gets SO2 added to it, it should be checked and confirmed that the resulting concentration is suitable for that wine, otherwise another addition may be needed.
- Lack of Planning
Most people need a calendar of “what to do when” because the winery is not visual. It’s easy to look at a tank and think everything is okay. But if you are not proactive and disciplined to continue monitoring the wines, not only will problems sneak up on you, but you’ll also start to get rushed to get things bottled, which can lead to the wines having post-bottling issues. So, make a task calendar, stick to it, and don’t rush bottling.
To hear the full episode A Winemakers Take on Harvest, check out https://www.vineyardundergroundpodcast.com/vu025