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maturité (F)
madurez (ES)
maturidade (PO)
maturità (I)
ripeness (GB)

Quality decisive point in the annual growth cycle the grapevine to which the vintage he follows. It is the completion of the ripening period between veraison (Ripening begins where the berries start to change color) and grapes ripen. The period between blossom and Maturation is alongside climate and Weather also from Maturity date (early to late) the vine dependent. The berries green before the Véraison have a relatively high content acids on, which are broken down during ripening, while the content of sugar increases.

Maturation - three unripe grapes (green)

The commonly used term of sugar maturity describes the state of the grape from the point of view of the sugar formed. The sugar content is mostly determined by refractometer determined and by that Mostgewicht expressed in different measures. In some cases, this is also referred to as technical / technological maturity . A distinction is made between early maturity, full maturity and over-maturity. Which of the three ripenesses is optimal or “the right one” depends on the type of wine desired, or other important ripening aspects are also important. That is the composition of the acid and as a new term that physiological maturity,

Maturation - three semi-ripe grapes (green, red, blue)

Early maturity (French pré maturité)

As the name suggests, the harvest takes place relatively early. At this point, a lot of sugar was already formed in the berries, but physiological ripeness is still relatively far away. In warm cultivation areas, especially white wines are deliberately harvested in a ripe state in order to preserve the acid, which is often lacking in such climatic conditions, and to achieve fresh aromas. However, such wines cannot achieve full flavor.

Full maturity (French pleine maturité)

In most wine-growing regions in the northern hemisphere (depending on the type of grape and the type of wine) this is achieved from September to October, and in warm regions in part already in August. However, what is understood by full maturity differs somewhat in the individual countries. In cooler areas, the main focus is on the sugar content or the weight of the must. The state of full maturity is reached with a harmonious ratio of acid and sugar content. One also speaks of a balanced sugar balance. No more sugar is breathed in at night (this creates carbon dioxide and water ) than is formed during the day.

Maturation - three ripe grapes (blue, yellow-green, red)

When the maturity is exceeded, the sugar balance becomes increasingly negative. This means that more sugar is broken down at night than is added during the day. By shrinking the berries and thus reducing the volume, this is offset. More extract or flavorings such as glycerin and phenols, which leads to wines with more body and alcohol. The must yield is lower, but more concentrated. A relatively new term is Engustment, the special phase of berry ripening, in which variety-specific flavorings and color intensity mint.

Overripe (French sur maturité)

In certain growing areas, at least some of the fully ripe grapes are left on the vine. As a result, they reach the stage of overripening with a negative sugar balance. However, this is compensated for by the evaporation of water and thus drying of the berries, which increases the sugar concentration and the must weight. In overripe as well botrytis respectively. very sweet Berries predominate in the type of sugar fructose (Fruit sugar). Such berries are a prerequisite for the production of Prädikatswein such as B. Trockenbeerenauslese,

Maturation - botrytized grapes

The new term is in the 1990s physiological maturity emerged, which contains not only sugar and acidity but also other criteria of maturity. Extreme weather conditions can lead to the so-called initiation by the vine itself premature ripening come (which no winemaker would want). The next development step in growth cycle after graduation is the leaf fall, See also under BBCH Code,

Maturation - ripening of a berry from green to dried

three rows of images immature, semi-mature, ripe: pixabay
Botrytis pigeon: Walliswine - own plant, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Grapes in hand: © DWI (German Wine Institute)
Ripening of the wine berry: © DWI (German Wine Institute)

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