How to improve the quality of red varietals

 

It’s already mid-September and here at Mezzacorona, we have finished harvesting the white varietals grown in our estates, mainly Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. Now it’s time for reds, either local varietals like Teroldego (literally “Tyrol’s Gold”, considered the “Prince” of red wines here in Trentino) or international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot cultivated in our vineyards close to the Lake Garda, in the southern part of the region.

 

Maybe not everybody knows that before harvesting the red varietals, in the final stage of maturation, it’s important to do a couple of operations (all performed by hand!)  in order to improve the quality of the wine: cutting the bunch tip and removing the bunches that have not completely ripened.

 

It’s evident that cutting the tip of the bunches (from 8 to10 cm) determines a reduction in the overall production (usually about 10%), but it is fundamental to improve the quality of the wine. As a matter of fact, the tip is usually characterized by the highest acidity level and the lower sugar content: removing it, the sugar content of the single bunch increases of 1° Babo (corresponding of about 5-6%) and other positive parameters, like polyphenols, improve.

 

The last operation that needs to be done in the pre-harvest is crop thinning in order to standardize the final production. If the farmers followed all the suggestions our vineyard managers gave them throughout the past year, just a few grapes will need to be removed from the vines. This operation takes about 15 – 20 hours per hectare, while cutting the clusters requires 50 hours of manual labor per hectare.

 

 

Both are clearly labor intensive operations, but here, at Mezzacorona, there is just one philosophy to be followed: Quality comes first.