Designation for the best possible maturity state of the grapes in the annual growth cycle of vine, At this time or grape condition should ideally the vintage be performed. The term maturation (frz. Maturité) describes the state of maturity from the point of view of the formed sugar or Most weight (Sugar maturity) in the context of acidity, distinguishing between early, full and overripe. In some cases, this also speaks of a technical / technological maturity . The grapes have reached a maximum of stored sugar. The concept of physiological maturity was first developed in the USA in the 1990s and subsequently increasingly prevailed in Europe as well. The physiology as a branch of biology is the study of the physical and biochemical processes in the cells, tissues and organs of all living things.
The physiological maturity includes more criteria than just that Mostgewicht (Sugar), the PH value and the salary acids as it was common in Europe. Strictly speaking, the overvalued must weight (especially in Austria and Germany) is only a measure of alcoholic maturity . On the other hand, physiological ripeness is also concerned with aromatic ripeness and (in the case of red wine grapes) phenolic ripeness . Condition or coloring of the berry skin, elasticity of the pulp, maturity of the grape seeds and berry taste are taken into account. The ideal time is given when as many as possible of these criteria have reached the optimal state, which then becomes apparent in the total extract of a wine. The physiological maturity is thus an essential part of the so-called "inner quality "Of a wine.
The development of flavorings the berries continue to run for some time after the increase in must weight has already come to a standstill. Especially with red grapes, phenolic immaturity provides increased levels aggressively astringenttannins, Therefore, two wines with identical must weight may very well present as "ripe" and "immature". There are a few simple tests to check physiological maturity. These include visual inspection (yellowish grape skins of white wine grapes indicate ripeness, green berries indicate immaturity), smelling and chewing (unripe berries have a very typical smell / taste), crushing berries (brown, lignified kernels that are easily separated from the pulp , are signs of ripeness, little juice can be squeezed out of the pulp with still attached kernels, the grapes are immature) and condition of the stem skeleton (a brown, woody stem skeleton in red wine grapes indicates good phenolic ripeness). See also below Engustment and Maturity date,
Ripe development of grape berry: © DWI (Deutsches Weininstitut)