Output product - ripe fruit
While the introduction mentioned wine as an element of "cultural goods", a stimulant or food ingredient, as if it were a finished natural product, this is what I drew my attention to in the last sentence, that wine should first of all be made with the help of the forces of nature. Wine is the fermented juice of the corresponding fruit. This is especially important, because, in fact, everything, what grows, you can squeeze any juice and any juice – with a little treatment – can be fermented. We will limit ourselves only to grape and fruit juices, to mention only a few more "exotic" options for making wine, even if there are sworn supporters of mushroom or cruciferous wine.
Few kinds of fruit are suitable for making good and healthy wine. I mean by that, that the quality of the wine depends on harmoniously balanced sugar proportions, acid and extract, from smooth wine making and aging and from (relative) wine resistance to disease. This will be discussed later, because each type of fruit reacts differently to the fermentation process and produces very different results. Therefore, we do not want to deal with vegetable juices here – from tomatoes to carrots – because they are recommended as juices, but not as a fault.
Ten, who has their own garden or harvests fruit, will it be wild, or noble varieties of apple trees by old country roads, this one will surely collect it, what nature gives in abundance: basic types of apples and pears and various varieties of berries.
Most often there is no problem with using the annual gifts of nature. If there is enough fruit, it is obvious, that you can preserve them, pasteurize, marinate or dry, but they can also be made into juice and wine. Who has harvested a hundredweight of apples or other fruit, will not wonder, whether the species is best suited for making wine, but will try to make best use of them. Who knows your garden and its crops, he knows from experience, what raw materials and how best to use. When preparing marmalades and jellies, they pay attention mainly to this, make fruit, from which they are made, they had the ability to gel themselves. On the other hand, such types of fruit and berries are chosen for wines and juices, which do not contain gelling ingredients (if it does, this can be remedied by the use of chemicals).
Set of fruits
An important stage in the preparation of juices and wines is the harvesting of fully ripe fruit. Its correct date is best determined by the gardener himself, based on his own experience. Fruit ripening depends on the rootstock used for grafting the plant, on the climate prevailing in a given region, on the weather in adolescence, on the position of the garden and finally on the type of soil. It is impossible to measure exactly, how big is the influence of individual factors. On the basis of observing trees and shrubs, I also state at a different time each year: "The time has come".
Therefore, I am unable to create a generally applicable harvest calendar at the moment and I would not like to raise the issue of the harvest date to the rank of a problem. An experienced farmer knows a few rules of thumb, to stick to.
• Bleeds are the first sign of maturity – falling fruit, which are more and more dense on the ground around the tree. Spades are fruit infested with pests, which mature earlier "by necessity".
• If the stalk can be broken off effortlessly when picking the fruit from the tree, it means, that the fruit has reached full maturity.
• If after cutting the fruit, for example apples, it will come out, that the pips have already turned brown, start preparing the juice making equipment.
These are only guidelines for the fruit growing on trees, they do not apply to berries.
Different varieties of fruit can reach different degrees of ripeness. About the maturity of stone fruit (hungarian, mirabelki and others) you can talk, when they are fit to eat. You can know their degree of maturity by this, that they become soft, sweet, and the stone is easy to separate from the flesh. Once ripe for consumption, the chemical process of producing sugar ends in the stone fruit. Whereas pome fruits (apples, pears and others), which are intended for the production of juices and wines, they must reach maturity during aging. It means, that these fruits continue to ripen and produce sugar after harvesting, until they reach their full value. If the fruit is left to their own fate and the ripening period during aging is omitted, will become "doughy", while losing on the sugar content, will wrinkle and dry or rot.
Any fruit harvested too early or too late has little or no use. This one is very wrong, who thinks, that all fruits are suitable for making juices and wines, because they can finally be sweetened. Taste buds record quality differences much earlier when consuming juices and wines than when eating jellies and jams. “From unripe and overripe ones, you can't make good wine out of spoiled and sick grapes ". – This old wine saying can be successfully applied to juices and wines made from other fruits.
But the perfect taste of the drink depends not only on the good quality of the fruit. The quality of the raw material is also prone to loss of taste, makeover (cloudiness – color change) and susceptibility to disease. Therefore, only fully ripe fruit should be used to prepare juices and wines (ripe for consumption or matured during aging).
Unripe fruits do not have the right flavor and contain too little sugar, and too much acid and gelling agents, which make it difficult or even impossible to clarify the wine later.
Insufficient sugar and excess acid can only be compensated for by chemicals (added sugar, reducing the acid content), a faint aroma, which later forms the "bouquet" of the wine, it becomes even weaker as a result. The full maturity of the grapes, berries or other fruits are of special value and cannot be replaced in an artificial way, be it through the use of chemicals, or some kipper tricks.