Anyone who is dedicated to the world of wine can affirm that the vintage is a special and magical moment. It is the most important moment in the life of a winery and in winemaking. The grape harvest begins and each step must be treated with care and affection, turning the harvest almost into a ritual.
To get a little closer to this moment, from Bodegas MITOS we leave you six curiosities about the vintage that will become very important in the aspects of wine that you will soon be able to enjoy.
1. The grape harvest is over 8,000 years old
Without a doubt, we can affirm that the grape harvest is a traditional activity.
In the second millennium BC, the Egyptians represented the grape harvest and the treading of grapes in their inscriptions. These were the first written documents related to the grape harvest. However, the first wine dates back 8,000 years, making this practice even older.
As a curiosity, it will surely surprise you to know that the techniques that we currently apply do not differ so much from those of that time.
2. The harvest becomes a party
The harvest has crossed the countryside and the wineries until it reached a dimensional culture and became a festival.
Numerous Grape Harvest Festivities have arisen in different national and international regions that began as a symbol of joy at the end of the harvest. Each region celebrates it in its own way, but all have become a great rural tourist attraction.
In Spain, the first festival dedicated to the grape harvest and therefore the oldest in the country was born in 1948 in Requena (Valencia), a municipality where Bodegas MITOS is located. The Requena Harvest Festival was declared of Tourist Interest in 1966.
3. Different harvest time
The harvest period takes place between July and October in the northern hemisphere, and between February and April in the southern hemisphere. This variation is mainly due to the degree of maturation of the grapes, which largely determines the best time to start the harvest.
In the Utiel-Requena area, where our winery is located, it is traditional to start the harvest at the beginning of September, although it will depend on how factors such as rain or temperatures have influenced each year. The acidity and amount of sugar that you want to give the wine will also influence.
4. The ripening process is variable
As a general rule, the maturation of the wine lasts approximately two months. It begins at “veraison”, at which time the grapes increase in size and weight and change color. When the grape reaches its optimum point of maturity, the harvest begins.
The optimal point will be decided by the winery and the technicians of the regulatory body. In fact, the maturation process of a wine may vary depending on what type of wine we want to get. The choice of the moment of the harvest will be decisive for obtaining a good wine and will influence the intensity of the wine, as well as its freshness and aroma, among other aspects.
5. The weather influences
All good wine owes its properties to various aspects, including the climate. To get a good wine it is necessary to have a warm summer without extreme temperatures. Cool night temperatures and light rain will be positive, especially in the last stage of the ripening process. Extremely high temperature could disturb the harvest.
If the climatic conditions have been stable throughout the season, the grape will have matured as it should and it will be possible to produce a wine with a good body and aromatic notes.
6. Types of harvest
As in many other practices, there are also two fundamental methods for harvesting: manual harvesting and mechanical harvesting. One or the other will be used according to the type of cultivation and the wine to be obtained.
The manual harvest is used for the production of higher quality wines. The bunches are selected one by one with the aim of obtaining the best ones. This increases the cost of production and the final price of the wine and leads to higher quality wines. This technique will also be used in vine or vine crops in which it is not possible to use alternative mechanical methods.
Mechanical harvesting, meanwhile, is used in trellised crops and with wide aisles between vineyards. It requires the use of machinery to save time and preserve the quality of the grape for the production of its quality wines.
We hope you liked these six curiosities, and we encourage all winelover to continue learning more about the world of wine!