Harvest and Beyond

Ripeness & Wine Style As harvest nears and the grapes are getting ripe, we growers need to start making some decisions concerning the style of wine we want to create. The wine media often gets caught up in the enological debate of ripeness and wine style. So, in this section of this grape growing special issue, I would like to bring the debate into focus. First of all, we need to define winegrape ripeness and discuss how varying levels of physiological maturity affect the resulting wine. Second, I would like to suggest some ways of fine tuning your backyard harvest timing to produce some delicious wines that perfectly suit your specific tastes. Defining Winegrape Ripeness: How Ripe is Too Ripe? It is clear that alcohol levels in table wine have risen significantly in the past two decades. Over the years there has been a rise in monstrously alcoholic wines of 16% or higher. Often, a wine that is picked at elevated ripeness shows more “high toned” fruit in the nose and feels heavier on the palate. When tasted blind, without
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