Article

Determining Ripeness in Wine Grapes

There is no more critical step in winemaking than picking at the often-fleeting correct moment. Yet ripeness determination is poorly understood and the associated picking logistics are often incompetently executed. If you think satisfying artistic winemaking should be easy, you’ll find making marshmallow crispy treats a more rewarding endeavor. If you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves in pursuit of greatness, continue reading. One thing for sure — Brix has nothing to do with ripeness. Sorry to contradict what you may have been told previously, but it just doesn’t. A highly informative collection of papers aimed at grasping the sexuality of the grape can be found in the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, Vol 6, No. 2: “Proceedings of Symposium on Reproductive Biology in Grapevines.” In its pages can be found a fascinating tour of the evolutionary history of the grape’s struggle to propagate and thrive that goes back to the dinosaur age and provides a window on the grapevine’s puppet strings that we can tug. One important finding was that sugar accumulation and acid respiration (primary metabolite