The Art of Living in Australia ; eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 421 pages of information about The Art of Living in Australia ;.
remembered in the course of the remarks upon pruning that I quoted Mr. Francois de Castella to show what a mistaken idea it is to pick the grapes before they are thoroughly ripe in order to produce, as it is erroneously supposed, a lighter wine.  It is of the greatest consequence, therefore, to choose that particular time for gathering the grapes when they contain the respective elements in their strictly proper proportions.

On the eventful day for the picking of the grapes the weather should be fine and bright, and in the warm districts they should be picked early in the morning and late in the afternoon, so that they are not too warm.  The grapes should never be taken to the fermenting house when too heated; indeed, it would be better not to crush the grapes at all than to have them in such a state.  As Signor Bragato observes, if they are too warm the fermentation will start with too high a temperature in the must, and very likely the result will be the formation of lactic and acetic germs.  In Algiers and other warm regions the grapes picked in the day are left outside during the night; by this means the temperature of the must is lowered.

In the picking of the grapes the greatest care should be taken to discard the mouldy, dry, and dirty grapes, and leaf insect worms should likewise be got rid of.  Once the gathering of the grapes is commenced it should be concluded as quickly as possible, and therefore a sufficient number of hands must be engaged for the purpose.  For instance, with the Riesling, if the grapes are left on the vines on a hot day twenty-four hours after they arrive at perfection, the wine will not be nearly so good.


On the arrival of the grapes at the press-house, the first thing to be determined upon is whether the stalks are to be used or not.  In the case of white wines it is not customary to separate them from the grapes.  A good deal, however, will depend upon different circumstances.  Thus, when grapes are grown in flat, damp places, or during wet seasons, it is often advantageous to ferment the berries with part of their stems; but, on the contrary, those grapes which contain a sufficiency of tannin will not require the latter.  For example, in the production of white wines at Mr. Hans Irvine’s ("Great Western”) vineyard in Victoria, the grapes are first crushed with the mill, the mill consisting of two grooved wooden rollers working against each other.  After this the skins, together with the stalks, are placed in the wine-press.  In the case of red wine, however, the grapes are separated from the stalks by means of an iron griddle, so that only the skins are employed in the formation of the wine.

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The Art of Living in Australia ; from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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