Wine Words: Green Harvesting

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"Green harvesting" is a viticultural wine phrase. Do you know what it refers to?

Green harvesting is the harvesting or dropping of unripe (aka green) green clusters of grapes from the vine. It is a form of crop thinning to help manage yield and to enable the remaining grape clusters to fully ripen according to the winemaker's aims.

Green harvesting is typically done around veraison. Veraison is the term used to signify the period when winegrapes turn from unripe, hard and green, to ripe, soft and yellow/golden or red in color. Unfortunately, not all clusters ripen evenly or at the same time. Their ability to ripen is dependent on the vine’s energy supplies and its access to sunlight. A grapevine is in balance when it can ripen all of the clusters it bears.

While yield is initially planned for through viticultural activities such as pruning, the particular year’s weather can alter this. Green harvesting is one of the many tools that the grape grower and winemaker have to manage yield at a later stage in the year and still achieve his/her desired grape quality.

(Image: Underlying image by Sadovnikova Olga/Shutterstock)

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Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

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