Grapes – wine

Grapes – for wine

The classic wine-making fruit begins to ripen in August, and its harvest continues – depending on the variety, vintage and places of cultivation – from September to November. These data are not accurate and are difficult to pin down, even experienced winemakers cannot give generally applicable dates. Especially in the case of grapes, you have to wait, so that quantity goes hand in hand with quality, that is, with balanced proportions between sugar, acid and aroma. During the ripening process of the grapes the influence is harmful, but also the quality-enhancing mold bacteria, the fruit lose a lot of fluid, therefore the harvest is smaller. As the sugar content increases, the acid content decreases. It is extremely difficult to find the right moment to harvest. In large wine-growing regions, the harvest time is officially set and this guideline can be followed. Ten, who grows vines against the wall of his house or owns a vineyard, which is not his livelihood, maybe wait a few more days, as long as the weather is dry and warm, and the grapes do not rot. Fruit, and hence, wine made of them, gain in aroma, if they are exposed to the gentle rays of the autumn sun for a little longer.

This is especially true of the owners of grapevines, growing outside large cultivated areas. The colder the climate, the more sheltered the place should be, in which the shrubs grow, and the longer it takes to harvest the fruit, to provide them with a longer maturation process.

Let me make a small digression here. It is impossible for me to write about the grape harvest so prosaically, as if it were advice, on privately pruning hedges. Formerly (and yet not so long ago) the harvest was an event, around which the life of the whole village revolved. After all, the existence of each inhabitant depended on the good result of the harvest. But unlike the harvest and the digging of potatoes, the harvest was a kind of respite at the end of the rural year and was celebrated almost like a folk festival. Goethe describes them with these words:

“There was almost no day at the right time, in order to [father] for that [for the garden] did not look, a my, accompanying him, we used both the first fruits of spring, like last fall. We also learned gardening activities, and the nicest of them was the grape harvest. In fact, it is beyond doubt, that like wine to the surrounding area, in which it grows and in which they drink it, gives a more casual character, so these moments of grape harvest evoke merriment. Joy and its loud symptoms sweep over the areas. During the day, shouts and gunshots are heard from all sides, and here and there rockets announce at night, that the darkness did not even dampen the mirth, that yes, people try to drag it as long as possible. The subsequent treatments around pressing the wine and fermenting it in the cellars gave us and at home a pleasant occupation, so that we did not notice, how winter came ".

(Jan Wolfgang Goethe: "From my life. Truth and fantazya ". Translation by Ludwik Jenike)

Already a few weeks before the actual grape harvest, the cellars and pressing stations were prepared for the reception of the harvest. Wooden vats were placed next to the village well or at the pumps in the yards of individual farms and still filled with running water., so that the wood swells. Each vessel had to be very tight, so that not a drop of precious liquid is wasted.

There was a clatter of hammers in the streets, it was coopers who repaired damaged barrels and vats. The staves had to be replaced and the hoops fastened together that fastened the round sides of the barrels. All iron parts of the press, Grape mills and chargers are painted with a special varnish, that neither fruit, neither the juice was in contact with the metal.

On the first day of the harvest, carts loaded with round or oval vats set off to the vineyards to the sound of bells., around which collectors and collectors sat or stood. Each of them had a bucket or basket and a knife or scissors with them. Men and robust youths carried containers that could hold six to seven buckets of fruit on their backs. Upon arrival at the vineyard, each was assigned one row of grapevines, from which with enthusiasm, step by step, was harvesting. They talked and sang, the owner of the vineyard himself chanted songs frequently, and not only because of that, that he cared about a good mood at work, but much more for this, that he recognized the old rule: who sings, this one does not eat grapes!