Towards sweetness do the grapes ripen under the sun, on the vine.
To bring plunders to a halt, we see no watchman,
And the rosy cluster, pearl by pearl to reap,
Do not withstand then, sweetheart: it is theirs autumn’s gift.
Yield by your own resolve, for my arm to take you in!
– Ion Pillat, “At the vineyard harvesting”
Harvesting of the vineyard is as important as the whole technological wine-making process. Depending on grape variety and viticultural habitat, the grapes arrive at full-growth in different “epochs”, meaning different periods of summer-autumn season. Experts talk about physiological maturity – when grape seeds are ripe and easily detach from the pulp – and technological maturity determined by grape composition necessary to obtain a certain kind of wine. White wine grape variety ripen first, followed by red grape, although depending on the type of wine chosen by the oenologist for production, white and red grape harvesting may come-next-after repeatedly. For example, red grapes used for rosé wines (higher acidity and more fruitful flavours) may be harvested before white grapes used for medium and sweet white wines.
This is the phase in which the winegrower and oenologist carefully follow the unfolding of grape ripening in order to choose the best moment of harvesting. At Basilescu Winery, the harvesting is done only manually, by harvesters instructed to choose only healthy grapes, which are collected in coffrets of 18 kg tops in order not to be crushed and oxidise on their way to the winery.