Grape MaturityIn many of the cooler wine growing districts of the world, getting grapes sweet enough is the primary concern regarding grape maturity. Harvest rains can often interrupt grape ripening resulting in thin, simple wines. In their warm sunny location on Spring Mountain the vines usually do not have a problem getting enough sugar in their fruit. Often the bright sunlight and hot days of warmer growing seasons cause the mountain fruit to ripen too rapidly.
In such warm conditions, grapes may attain high sugar levels before they develop full aroma and flavor. All else being equal, the winemaker likes to see long "hang times" in a vineyard. To determine when to harvest the winemaker and vineyard manager examine the stems, skin and seeds of the fruit for visual indications of maturity. They test the grapes for sugar, pH, and total acidity on a regular basis during ripening. They watch for changes in the flavor, appearance and chemistry of the grape and try to capture the crop when it has achieved physiological ripeness. Ultimately, they taste the fruit and pick on the basis of flavor.