The Brix scale is used to measure the sugar density of grapes, and as grapes ripen, the Brix level increases. During fermentation, approximately 50 percent of the sugar in grape juice can be converted into alcohol, so in order to produce dry table wines, grapes should be harvested between 23 and 26 degree Brix to achieve the desired alcohol level of 11 to 13 percent.
When does veraison occur in the ripening process?
Veraison is the stage when grapes begin to soften and change their color. At the beginning of veraison, grapes are hard, green, and about half the size they will reach when they fully mature. The end of this 30 to 45 day period signals the coming of harvest.
What is the significance of a cold soak?
Often after wine grapes have been sent through a crusher-destemmer, they are kept in a cool environment of 10 degrees Celsius for several days. This cold soak helps emphasize brighter fruit notes and a deeper color in the finished wine.