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Rain during harvest can be a headache! While it can interrupt the natural flow of operations, agility in harvesting is key.

Follow these 5 quick tips to ensure a smooth harvest regardless of precipitation and avoid any unnecessary damage to your end product.

Tip #1

Do not harvest grapes immediately after rain.

Harvesting grapes that contain additional water will result in a diluted must that can throw off the delicate balance of sugar and acid. As water has a higher pH than wine grapes, it can also raise pH levels in your wine! It is a best practice to leave the grapes to dry on the vine for at least two to three hours, if not a day or two, after any rain before picking.

Tip #2

Plan to use any breaks from rain to give yourself a head start!

While rain can be an annoyance, it also can allow some extra breathing time to prepare other fruits or get things in line for crush. Planning ahead can make the rain a productive break from the chaos and a chance to strategize.

Tip #3

Use smaller perforated lugs for picking.

After a heavy rain and before harvest, grapes can more easily swell and split causing damage which can start the process of oxidation. Even small amounts of damage can create and spread spoilage, mold and mildew to otherwise healthy grapes. It is best to use smaller, perforated lugs to prevent the containment of moisture. Smaller lugs can also prevent the spread of oxidation which can ruin the quality of the resulting wine, and even potentially pose a food safety threat.

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Tip #4

Have a plan for transporting healthy grapes to cellar quickly.

The less movement the better! Once in the cellar, it is also recommended to use smooth, easy-to-clean containers like Flextank Versa Bins with no hard edges for less contusions. But be sure to be as gentle as possible, big movements like shuffling or dumping from too high up can cause further damage to already sensitive grapes.

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Tip #5

Once in the cellar, start cooling and processing as quickly as possible.

Once the grapes are picked, time to get them inside away from any potential future rain as quickly as possible! In the cellar, grapes should be kept chilled immediately, and processing should begin from within a couple hours to only a couple of days after picking. Then it’s finally time to get the juice into a Flextank for fermentation! Poly tanks like Flextanks are recommended to give more control of your wine’s development while performing all barrel tasks including both fermentation and maturation.

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