Chapter 33

Harvesting Wine Grapes

Manual Harvesting

The oldest and of course most traditional method of harvesting is by hand. Crews of vineyard workers move quickly through the vineyard row by row, vine by vine, using shears or a curved harvest knife to carefully cut off the ripe clusters (See Figure 33.1). In the United States, grapes are traditionally picked into 30 pound (13.6 kg) boxes (sometimes called lugs), and in many cases, these boxes are emptied into ½ ton bins or two-ton (0.45 or 1.8 mt) bins on a tractor which follows the crew down the rows. Manual harvesting is typically, more common with small vineyards and the production of premium wines justifying the extra cost. In some appellations, hand-picking is the law.

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