Fall is such an incredible time of the year in California with the harvest of new grape crops and the crush of new wines! And while we might not have the dramatic change in colors that other states experience announcing the start of fall, what we do have is the incredible excitement of yearly grape crops coming to harvest.

The harvesting of grapes is more than just the first step individual grapes make towards becoming a delightful bottle of wine, but it officially marks the busiest time of the year for a winery as most host festivals or events celebrating the annual grape harvest. Some of the most popular celebrations can be found in Napa Valley, Sonoma County and along California’s Central Coast.

The Harvest

Depending on the size, location and style of a winery, there are two approaches a winery can use to pick the grapes off the vine and ready for crush. In general, larger size vineyards on flat land use mechanical harvesters that provide a more efficient and cost-effective process for collecting grapes, while hand-harvesting is still wildly popular for hillside as well as smaller, more boutique style wineries that are highly focused on style and taste. Hand-harvesting allows for a more precise selection and delicate collection of grapes which reduces damaged skin and protects the grapes juice.

The ultimate goal is to get the grapes to crush, where the grapes are actually “gently spilt” and never smashed to start the flow of juice as quickly as possible. Many varietals are picked in the cool early morning hours and great efforts taken to keep them from becoming too warm on their journey from the vineyard to the crusher.

The Pecking Order of the Picking

Amusing to discover, there is indeed a pecking order to the picking! Keeping in mind that grapes are left on the vine to increase their sugar content, sparkling wine grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are usually harvested first to ensure lower sugar levels. Soon to follow are the remaining white wine grapes and then finally the red wine grapes as these typically take much longer to mature.

The Weather Factor

Weather plays a tremendous role on how the wine will eventually present itself as the final product in the bottle of wine. The ideal weather for growing grapes begins with a cool winter with good moisture. But once spring arrives, heavy moisture would be a hindrance as the desirable weather is warm, mild sunshine. Then throughout the summer and into the fall, the ideal weather is a mix of cool nights and warm days. Each year during actual harvest time, wineries dream of dry weather to bring home the grapes.

Now if you can’t be in California to experience the harvest and crush for yourself this year, you can certainly enjoy it of share it with someone you love with a delicious gift basket from California. We hope you will enjoy the great foods and flavors of this year’s California harvest…whether you can make it here of not!

Great Wines all from throughout California can be found in gourmet gift baskets from California Delicious amongst many other fantastic products.

Great Wines all from throughout California can be found in gourmet gift baskets from http://www.californiadelicious.com amongst many other fantastic products.

Author Bio: Great Wines all from throughout California can be found in gourmet gift baskets from California Delicious amongst many other fantastic products.

Category: Food and Drinks
Keywords: California fall harvest, , California wine, California gift basket, gift basket.

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