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Wine can be made from many kinds of fruits and berries that contain natural sugar. The largest amount of wine is produced from grapes (white, rose, black, or red). The grapes are composed of: stem (2.5-8%), skin (6-10%), pulp, grape-stones (2-15%) and must. This is the most suitable natural product for winemaking, because the grapes contain enough sugar for fermentation. On the surface of berries live yeast fungi, which give rise to the process of making wine after the juice is squeezed out. In order to make a good wine, it is very important to grow high quality grapes. The quality of grapes depends on many factors. All good vineyards are located on the hills and on the slopes of the mountains. Of great importance are the lighting (sun), soil, and climate, humidity of the region and the age of the vines (Zeppa, Giuseppe (2007)).
Grapes grown for wine contain more sugar and less acid. It is collected at a certain degree of maturity, necessary for the production of wine. The degree of maturation of the grapes determines the composition and quality of the resulting wine. Grape maturation is not a regular and uniform process. Rainy and cold weather may reduce the intensity of ripening, while a dry weather accelerates grape ripening. Another reason for determining the optimum harvest time is that not all varieties are harvested at the same time.
The methods for determining the date when grapes are ripe and can be harvested have evolved over time from organoleptic to chemical determinations, following the changes in the content of the main components of grapes.
Grape harvesting is done manually by cutting the cluster from the vines by hand with picking knives or scissors. Mechanical harvesting is used when possible. The moment of harvesting grapes for wine is chosen with care, since each variety must reach its potential for cultivation (the amount of sugar, aroma, colour and acidity). The amount of sugar which is fructose and glucose) measured by a refractometer (RI = refractometer index in % or °Brix) should be above 19% to reach a right content of alcohol. Berries with more than 17% of sugars are sweet and 19% of sugars provide a very sweet taste (Fabio Mencarelli. Department of Food Science and Technology)
The time of harvest is also set according to the technological maturation that is very important in the process of wine making, because the parameters to which the grapes must come are different for different types of wine: very dry, off dry, medium and sweet. Collection of grapes for wine production takes place in late August – September. White grapes are harvested earlier, red – later. There are also later collections of grapes, for example, in Germany. Due to the climatic conditions there is a short period of aging, there is not enough sugar in the berries, so the harvest is made in November.
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