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Raidis Estate

Raidis Estate
9 March 2022 | Raidis Estate | Raidis Estate

Knowing when to pick the grapes

There are many decisions to be made by winemakers during vintage that affect the final wines that consumers get to enjoy, but few are more important in the scheme of things than deciding when to pick the grapes.


There’s a saying that great wines are made in the vineyard. This is often a contentious issue and causes many arguments between vignerons and winemakers, as each contributes at different stages of the process.


We think the truth is that both parties are equally important in making great wines.


But how do we know when to pick our grapes each year?


Well, the answer to this really (mainly) depends on a couple of factors:


When we can taste the flavours in the grapes that we want in the finished wine


The primary characteristics (juicy fruit flavours) are the components of the finished wines that reflect the vineyard (and vigneron's influence).


The secondary characters are things like oak from the barrels, aged/ developed flavours from time spent in barrel or bottle, or flavour components from the yeast added during fermentation and other processing steps (the winemaker’s influence).


When the grape sugar levels are optimal


As the grapes ripen, there are a lot of metabolic processes going on in the grapes. One of these is reflected by the changes in acid and sugar levels. When grapes are first formed, they are tiny little green berries and are very acidic, and as they ripen, they accumulate sugars and get sweeter.


These sugars are essential for several reasons, but quite simply, they are what gets converted by the yeast during fermentation into alcohol, and the alcohol level in the finished product is a critical part of making a balanced wine.


While many other factors contribute to the ideal picking time, these are the most fundamental to the way the wine will taste in the end. Ultimately, the key is to pick the grapes when there is a perfect balance of flavours, sugars and acid levels in the grapes.


This is what we strive for each year; to make the very best wines we can to share with all of you.


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