Hand picking the grapes

Photo by Kir-Yianni Estate

Harvesting in the Greek vineyards is done the way it has been done for thousands of years: by hand picking the grapes. The main reasons why it still is the preferred method are:

• The affinity Greek wine growers and wine makers have with harvesting which dates back to primeval times and is interwoven with lore, worship rituals, celebrations and daily life. It is an inextricable part of Greece’s culture and of the collective memory of the Greek people

• The particularities of the Greek vineyard with its numerous, small winegrowing “isles” where, over time, unique winegrowing techniques such as hand picking the grapes have been developed

• The morphology and mountainous nature of the Greek terrain do not favor intensive, mechanical cultivation or harvesting techniques

• The unique diversity of varietals of Greek vineyards. Here, there are no sprawling vineyards planted with a single variety that is easier to harvest uniformly.
• The small size of land plots and the presence of numerous small vine growing units

Hand picking the grapes plays a decisive role in the quality of the fruit and the wines they yield. When the right date for harvesting is determined, harvesters venture out into the vineyards armed with their harvest knives or clippers, small, clean crates and their skill. The main advantages of hand picking the grapes are:

• Grapes are handled carefully and gently, in sharp contrast to mechanical harvesting which may damage the fruit

• The hand-picked grapes are carefully laid out on small open crates so that they may reach the winery intact

• The on-site selection of the grapes by experienced harvesters who hand pick the grapes depending on the variety, the maturity of grapes and their quality

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