Chapter 31

Evaluation of Wine Grape Maturity

(book excerpts)

There are many aspects in evaluating wine grape maturity that determine the best time to harvest wine grapes. Some of these are quantitative and can be determined to a high degree of numerical accuracy, and others are qualitative and are more subjective. Some of the quantitative measures include soluble solids content, titratable acidity, and pH for the intended type and style of wine. Of equal importance are the grower’s observations of the qualitative indicators—integrity of fruit, color intensity of skins, seed coat color, the degree of tannin “ripeness” when the skins are chewed, degree of lignifications of the cluster peduncle development, and observations of the physical condition of the vines. Practical and economic considerations play a role too and may include availability of labor and weather conditions.

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