Green harvesting: what is it and what does it do?
The term “green harvesting” defines all the operations regarding growing vines. More simply between the end of winter and the harvesting.
It’s notably used to allow grapes to mature well, to control the yield and to reduce the risk of rot spreading.
Particularly noticeable are:
- Work on the leaves, especially thinning.
This consists of removing part of the grape leaves to allow for better airing of the bunches, to progressively accustom the grapes to the sun’s heat and to dry out any possible outbreaks of grey rot,
- Working on the budding bunches, like de-budding or destemming.
Destemming consists of removing part of the still-green bunches under the vine stocks which are too full. This provides the best quality grapes, having a higher sugar concentration which limits the risk of rot by ensuring that the remaining bunches are aired. This operation must be done very carefully as it’s hard to assess the final yield of a vineyard before harvest time and a badly carried out destemming can lead to an unwanted decrease in yield,
- Work on the shoots, like topping or clipping.
These pruning techniques slow down the vine growth, therefore giving the grape a better food supply. This is also a difficult job as it mustn’t prevent the growth of other shoots which would have the opposite effect to the one sought-after.
In each of these cases, using one or the other technique is understood depending on the wine-maker’s objective in regards to the sort of wine wanted and is not a guarantee of quality as such.