In mid-September, the first bunches of grapes begin to be harvested. There is no need to rush with this process because the grapes do not ripen any more after picking. And if you are late, the berries in the bunches will simply wilt.
When to pick grapes
The time to harvest grapes depends on the variety and latitude. The more southern, the earlier the berries will ripen. You can harvest from early or mid-September, and in the north – in October. Table grapes can be plucked even after frost, but they must be eaten immediately.
The easiest way to tell if a grape is ripe is to taste it every 2-3 days. If the berries are no longer getting sweeter, they are ripe.
As for the best time of day to pick grapes, it is better to do it in the afternoon, when the berries are dried from the dew in the sun. Also, grapes should not be picked during rain and 3 days after rain. Wet grapes do not last long and yeast is washed out of them.
Signs of grape ripeness
- White grapes are considered ripe when their skin becomes thin and transparent.
- Blue grapes have richer flesh and darker skin.
- The stalks of ripe grapes turn woody.
- The berries should come off the cluster easily.
- The seeds turn light brown and separate easily from the flesh.
- Ripe grapes give off a strong and pleasant fragrance.
- The best way to pick grapes
Grapes are harvested by hand only with a pair of pruning shears or secateurs. The grapes are cut at the base of the bunch and piled carefully in a crate so that they don’t get crushed. If there are damaged berries in the cluster, they must be removed so that they do not “infect” the whole grapes.
Grapes should only be washed immediately before consumption or cooking. Berries should not be washed in advance, otherwise, the shelf life will be greatly reduced.