How to harvest grapes for wine-making

We run a small co-op where we make wine collectively together at Keela. This post is to help those who are picking their grapes for us to make wine but will apply to anyone who is picking grapes.

Prep day

Make sure you prep for the grape harvest in advance so you can start early on harvest day.

  1. Buckets or crates for collecting the wine. 50-litre buckets are ideal for harvesting grapes as they are cheap and have good handles. Make sure they are clean buckets. I keep new clean buckets for wine and olive harvests.
  2. Grapevine cutting tool. Ideally small secateurs with a straight blade, a spare one for friends that may help and a way to sharpen them
  3. Plastic sheet for transport. If you can’t fit buckets into your car you will lay a plastic sheet in your book and fill it with grapes. This is not ideal as you will need to empty all the grapes into buckets when you go to make the wine so adds extra work.
secateurs with a straight blade
secateurs with a straight blade

When do we harvest the grapes?

  1. On the morning of the day that we are making the wine, not the day before
  2. Keep the whole day free so you can harvest, make wine and then have food and wine together after
  3. Keep grapes in the shade at all times
  4. Everyone harvests on the same day
  5. If you have a lot of grapes you must start early, e.g. 5am to be done by lunchtime
  6. We usually harvest slightly later than most people around here, you will lose grapes to birds and them drying out so the volume of wine will be less

How to harvest your grapes

  1. Ideally, Harvest white and red separately,
  2. Remove leaves, hard stems and grass. There should only be grapes and their stalks
  3. If you don’t have time to harvest all then just harvest the red ones, not the white ones.
  4. Do not harvest any that are all shrivelled up, Yes you will have lots that are shrivelled but that is normal. If you would of picked it earlier the wine will not be as good
  5. Fill buckets with grapes around the vineyard
  6. Drive around your vineyard and collect the grapes by car if you can

Clean Buckets and Crates

How do we make the wine?

  • Usually, we make the wine after lunch and it takes all afternoon, We hope you join us and help and learn the process. afterwards, we provide snacks and wine to keep the day free.
  • Wine is ready between Feb and April
  • Check out this blog for some of the steps

Organic sulfate-free wine making

Want to make wine with us? then please contact us

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