Mathews & Anderson in the Journal of Enology & Viticulture 1988 tracked the changes of components in the berry. In the space of three to four months, as the berry diameter expands and the grapes ripen,
- Acid concentration in the berry drops
- Sugar concentration increases
- pH rises gradually and then steeply
- Anthocyanins develop
Depending on when grapes are harvested, the wine takes various fruit aromas.
The effect of ripening on the varietal flavours of grapes
|Grape Variety||Unripe stage of fully formed grape||Early ripening stage||Ripe grapes|
|Sauvignon Blanc||Grapefruit, grass||Green apple, herbal||Tropical fruit|
|Semillon||Hay, straw||Melon, Lime||Passion fruit|
|Gewurtztraminer||Green||Citrus and spice||Spicy (Aromatic)|
|Chardonnay||Cucumber, melon||Peach||Tropical fruit, Pineapple|
|Pinot Noir||Cherry||Violets||Raspberry, Plum|
|Grenache||Flowers||White pepper and red fruit||Prune|
|Merlot||Grass||Violet, Red Stone fruit||Plum|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||Herbal||Mint, leafy||Blackcurrant|
|Shiraz/Syrah||Spicy and herbal||Black pepper, raspberry||Plum and Jam|
Making wine is as much an art as it is a science
It is no wonder that viticulturists and winemakers not only analyse the fruit for ripeness but they also taste the grapes to determine when they should be harvested. The above also throws light on the different styles of wine that are made in various parts of the world.
Ignoring the effects of ‘terroir’, in New World countries where grapes are often harvested very ripe, most white wine have a tropical fruit aroma whilst the same white wine varieties in Europe, have citrus-like aromas because of the relatively fewer hours of sun received.