Thursday, November 10, 2005

Time to pick the grapes?

"Harvest's over, let the grape 'hang time' debate begin" by Brett Ascarelli in The Napa Valley Register is discussing the pros and cons of the time the grapes are picked.
"Many vintners favor longer hang times, because they say the extra time grapes spend on the vine develops the full flavors that have lately been lauded by wine critics, whose opinions have had increasing influence over industry standards. However, longer hang times often translate into higher brix, or sugar, levels. When wine ferments, yeast processes the fruit sugars into alcohol, therefore fruit with more brix results in wines with high alcohol. Another side effect of high brix is "stuck fermentation," when the alcohol concentration of fermenting wine gets so high that it kills the yeast before it can convert the remaining sugar. Some winemakers add water to the wine when this happens to revive fermentation."
Nice article.