Harvest: A Grape’s First Step

September 08, 2013

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Hand harvesting is the most traditional method. Many wineries, especially smaller ones still employ this technique.

Harvest is the first step grapes take in their journey to the bottle of delicious wine you enjoy. It is also the busiest time of year for wineries. Vineyards are bustling, while festivals and events celebrate the tradition and excitement of the annual grape harvest in Missouri wine country.

In most years harvest happens from August to October. As you know, this summer has seen a fair amount of unseasonable weather, pushing harvest a little later than usual. Mother nature postponing the season has only increased the excitement for this year’s bounty.

In general, grapes intended for sparkling wine are harvested first to ensure lower sugar levels. In Missouri, this often means Vidal Blanc grapes. Next on the docket are most of the white wine grape varietals such as Vignoles, Chardonel, and Traminette. After that, the red wine grapes such as Concord, Chambourcin and Norton are harvested, as they tend to take a bit longer to ripen. Lastly, the late-harvest grapes meant for dessert and ice wines make their way to crush.

Harvest season in Missouri is the welcome mat for Fall, beckoning crisper air and cooler temperatures. It is the perfect time to get out to a winery and experience what Missouri wine is all about. Go to a crush festival, a grape-stomp or even help hand-harvest in the vineyard.