Excessive amounts of rain during the maturation period is not favorable to the quality of grapes. It increases the risk of diseases caused by humidity, peranospora and mildew in particular. In order to prevent them, vineyards in many countries are pollinated with treatments up to ten times a year. As a result, vines, berries and soil are filled with unnecessary microelements even if the most natural treatment is used. Because of our dry climate in summer, the risk of diseases is minimal. We are not forced to resort to frequent treatment. We do it only for preventative measures, preserving the full natural purity of our grapes. Such an approach is costly in the modern world. Our climate is our great advantage and a key factor in producing high-quality wine. Moreover, excessive moisture makes the grape juice less saturated with required elements. Good rain a week before harvesting will have a positive effect on the quality of wine. The grape skin will become more moist and elastic, which brings tannins and anthocyanins into the wine during the pressing of white grapes and the fermentation of most red grapes.
The Rules of the Winemaker
A perfect winter at the vineyards passes in a specific manner. At the beginning of November, we start to prepare earth banks in order to hold our vines above the ground. Such banks help us decrease the affect of snow on the vines. Right before the first winter frosts, we Plant out vines by the banks and cover them with small layer of earth in order to protect them from wind. If the frost (up to -15oC) comes right after casting, it will eliminate harmful microbes and bacteria from the surfaces of soil and vines. This acts as the best prevention against diseases for the next couple of seasons!
Grapes should be harvested in early the morning before the heat of the day. Harvesting whilst it is raining is prohibited. If there’s rain, we have to wait for the moisture to evaporate from the grapes. If the weather is cloudy and we anticipate rains during the day, we can harvest throughout the whole day. It is extremely important to conduct each successive procedure in a timely manner. You have to start pressing white grapes and prepare for the fermentation of red grapes right after harvesting.
We pinpoint the optimum harvesting time based on information we’ve gathered through testing the wine, using laboratory methods and of course tasting and experiencing the wines ourselves. As we become more experienced, we are able to determine visually whether the grape is mature. Every variety has its specific color and tone. It is also vital to try the berry for taste. A good winemaker can immediately recognize when the berry has reached its optimum flavor. Additionally, there are many indicators of maturity in a berry’s pip and pulp. We analyse the fruits in a laboratory to examine the grape juice for its acidity and sugar content. Every winemaker has his own opinion on the best condition of the berry for harvesting. It depends on the type of wine the winemaker wants to produce: whether that be fruity or strong, sparkling or dessert wine.
In order to create sparkling wine, winemakers use red (by the color of the juice) grapes, and Pinot Noir in particular. Depending on the intensity of the pressing, the juice acquires a pink tone. Sparkling rosés are currently very popular internationally. Pinot Noir is very suitable for the production of sparkling rosé. We, too, are starting to produce sparkling rosé from Pinot Noir by using a pneumatic press for the pressing of the grapes. The intensity of the colour will depend on the maturity of the grape and the pressure of the pressing.
The so-called white grapes that may actually be various colors are used in the production of white wines. The white wines are produced using a pressing method which extracts the juice. The modern pressing technology is very different from the old techniques. A lot of white wines produced today are the result of technological progress. Modern pneumatic presses radically reduce any oxidation of the juice, as they press the grapes gradually by using a membrane. The most advanced presses employ nitrogen to reduce the oxidation of the juice.
The structure of oak is granular and dense; it does not have long wooden fibres. The structure of oak makes oak planks very durable and not susceptible to bending whilst moistening and drying. The granular structure preserves the density of the wood and prevents it from becoming spongy and susceptible to water penetration. Most importantly, oak barrels facilitate the living processes of the wine. It helps wine to breathe slowly. It enriches the wine with oxygen and nitrogen, complements the fermentation process and allows the molecules of wine to transform into shorter chains that in turn create aromas in the wines. The wine, moreover, absorbs the fragrance of oak and its structural elements.