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Wine Diary

Smooth harvesting

September 17, 2012

By mid-September the window of time for harvesting grapes for Sparkling wines is closing. We taste the berries now, lightness and striking acidity slowly make way for more opulent, mature and soft-skinned flavors.
This is the time to bring in grapes for our lighter classic wines, with alcohol levels between 11,5 – 12% vol. Splendid grapes, healthy, with straightforward fruit - some vineyards had been suffering a tiny bit from drought stress during the last weeks until 2 days of light but steady rain eased the situation.
Besides harvesting grapes for Grüner Veltliner L+T (= leicht und trocken = light & dry) and Langenloiser Rosé, there is more work to be done. August’s blazing sun has left visible traces on the sensitive Riesling berries of our vineyards in Steinmassel and Heiligenstein. Whole clusters of the sunburned grapes, sometimes only part of one cluster have to be sorted and discarded.
Our aim is vines with good air flow and sunlight. Therefore, we walk through the vineyards and remove leaves where they are shading the fruit too much. Grapes should hang freely in the air and get good light in the half shade, but they should not be fully exposed to the sun. Removing the leaves is hard work and quite challenging, as one must create the right situation for each grape – not too much but enough sunlight has to get through. The ideal amount also depends on the variety: sunlight enhances sugar, tannin and pigments which is more important for red varietals. Shaded grapes will build more fruit, whereas too much shade leads to hard green & unripe flavours and may result in moldy fruit.