Why are Some Vines Harvested at Night?
The harvest season is extremely important for the quality of the wine that the wineries produce. A week's delay in the harvest time can have disastrous consequences for the winemaking process.
But does the time of the day when the vines are harvested have an impact on the quality of grapes? Why do some wineries harvests at night? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this practice? We will address all these questions in today´s article.
Reasons to harvest at night
Lower grapes temperatures
The temperature at which the grapes are harvested can have a huge impact on the type of wine that the winery will later produce. For example, if the grapes are harvested at temperatures above 30ºC, the sugar acid of the grape will change. For that reason, many wineries harvest at night, where temperatures are lower, and the sugar composition of the grape is kept stable.
Quality of grapes
All the winemakers know that depending on the harvest temperature, the grapes can keep the concentration of aromas and flavours with a higher intensity.
Also, if the fruit is cooler when it arrives at the winery, the winemaker can better control the fermentation process, given that they are cooler at the picking tables when they are sorted out. During the day, the grapes can arrive at the sorting table at a temperature of 35ºC, but if they have been harvested at night, they arrive at a temperature of 18ºC.
The temperature of the grapes in the sorting table is crucial, to preserve the aromas and decrease the oxidation rate.
Lower energy costs
Wineries can save energy costs by harvesting at night. When the grapes arrive at the wineries, they are already cool and therefore, there is no need to cool the grapes in the cellar. The grapes need to be at a temperature of 17º-18ºC before crushing and converting them into a must.
Longer harvesting time
When harvesting at night, workers can pick the grapes for 8 to 12 hours, whereas if the grapes are picked during the day, it must be done before 1 pm, given that it is very hot in the fields when harvest season starts.
Better working conditions
For the people working in the fields, it is better to harvest at night because it is cooler than during the day when temperatures can reach up to 35ºC. This year´s heat wave in Europe has forced many wineries to pick grapes at night.
Disadvantages of night harvest
Grapes are not sorted
Not all the wineries can harvest at night, given that mechanical harvesters are needed. If wineries do hand harvesting, it is very hard to harvest at night, given that there is no light to differentiate the good grapes from the bad grapes in the fields. With machine harvest, the team working at the filed can´t sort the grapes out, until they get into the sorting table in the winery.
Difficulties to find a team
When handpicking the grapes, wineries need to bring them as soon as possible the grapes to the winery, as time is crucial to later preserve all the aromas of the grapes. In many cases, even if the harvest is done automatically, some wineries can have difficulties harvesting at night given that they do not have a team that can work on the fields at night.
What wine grapes are best to harvest at night?
White wines are better to harvest at night because the high temperature can have a detrimental impact on the grapes. Some of the grapes harvested at night are the ones presented below:
One of the white wines that are harvested at night is Chardonnay. Keeping grapes cold help protect the flavours, skin and pulp of the grape.
If harvested at night, the grapes are fresh, so that the acidity is higher, and the sugar composition is kept stable. Remember, that higher sugar levels lead to higher alcohol content.
Verdejo is a grape variety found mainly in the Spanish region of Rueda.
It is considered to originate from North Africa, so it is very resistant to the high temperatures specific to Rueda.
Due to the hot summers and autumns, this variety is harvested at night to maximize the aromas and its characteristics.
Recommendations of wines that are harvested at night.
This white wine is made of Chardonnay grapes from the wine region of Napa Valley, in the United States. On the nose, it presents green apple, cedar, and passionfruit notes.
On the palate, this wine presents hints of toasted brioche. We recommend pairing the wine with salad, fish, cheese and white meats. We recommend a serving temperature of 11ºC.
Is an award-winning semi-dry organic white wine from the wine region D.O Rueda, in Spain. On the nose, it presents herbaceous and white flower notes that stand out, with aniseed, fennel, and scrubland tones and balsamic background.
On the palate, the wine has a great structure and volume, resulting in a very elegant wine. Sapientia Verdejo Organic 2018 is great to pair with fish, seafood, pasta, rice, and white meat dishes. It can also be paired with smoked fish, such as salmon, white tuna, or trout, among others. We recommend a serving temperature of between 8ºC and 12ºC.
We hope that you enjoyed this article and that you learned something new about wine production at night. If you have any more doubts about night harvesting, don´t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com, or to visit our store for more recommendations.
See you next time, wine lovers,
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