The turn of August and September is the traditional period when a set of grapes for wine production is started in Crete. One of the most important decisions affecting the quality of the future drink is to determine the most favorable harvesting moment. It is a very risky moment in which the weather begins to play an increasingly important role. A few rainy days or hail can nullify the previous work put into the cultivation of plants. Delaying the harvest is associated with the risk of fruit damage and their increasing susceptibility to any kind of mechanical damage or disease. However, too early harvesting may be synonymous with obtaining fruit that will not have the necessary properties necessary to produce good wine.
In the past, the assessment of grape maturity was largely based on the experience of a vintner who, by eating a fruit, was able to assess its acidity and sugar content. Nowadays, high market requirements do not allow such subjective and random assessments. Although the taste qualities of the fruit are still important, the chemical composition of the grapes is a real factor determining the moment of harvesting. These parameters are obtained from various types of electronic gadgets (it is worth mentioning, for example, refractometers), which are on the equipment of a contemporary farmer and vintner. Fewer and fewer things are left to human subjective judgment, let alone pure randomness.
The production of a particular type of wine requires the use of fruits with pre-established properties. Before harvest, the grapes are carefully verified in terms of sugar content and acidity. In the area of the evaluation performed by tasting, there is still testing of the quality of tannins, which have a significant impact on the later taste of the wine. The high complexity of the reaction of maturation of these phenols causes that their assessment continues to cause many problems. Up to now, the best device for testing their quality is the experienced palate's vintner.
In many regions of the world, manual harvesting of grapes has gone down in history. Yes, the specialized machines costing the fortune do not do this as accurately and as gently as human hands, but they are disproportionately faster, they do not get tired and in general their exploitation is cheaper than paying for a large group of workers.
After all, the manual collection did not go away. Some of the wineries still prefer to use people's services. It is also worth mentioning that the production of some types of wine even forces the use of a manual collection. An important factor affecting the manner of harvesting is the terrain. This is particularly important in the mountainous regions of the world, such as, for example, Crete. Steeply sloping slopes are too big an obstacle even for the best machines currently available on the market.
Wine is a liquor that is present on the Cretan tables from the distant past. Already in the Minoan period viticulture and wine production was one of the most important elements of the then economy and culture. This historical heritage is present in Greek homes to this day. Looking at a typical Cretan dinner and various parties, it will be difficult to find a table on which one carafe filled with one of the local wines will not be found. Those served in houses in the countryside and in taverns located in smaller towns are usually wines of their own production. It is worth trying them, because sometimes their taste and quality can surprise you. Let us also add that Greek wines try to gain new markets also outside the EU, such as in the USA, China, Canada, Russia and Switzerland. One of the most recent projects of the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Nutrition, worth EUR 16 million for promotion and advertising, is to support them.
During our culinary experiments and during the preparation of our everyday meals, we try to reach for unique products from Crete or Greece as often as possible. Many of them permanently fit into our menu and systematically reach our shopping lists. For some time, dried plums and black olives from the Greek company Atrapos have joined the group of this type of products. At the outset, it is worth emphasizing that both products are virtually in the permanent offer of the online store kreta24.pl.
If you are going to Crete for the first time, be prepared for the explosion of real flavors and aromas. Cretan vegetables and fruits are fresh and full of flavor, while wild herbs that smell in the air, emphasize the taste of simple dishes with their intense aromas.
We are not surprised by the fact that many plants growing in Crete have healing properties. In the pages of our site we have written many times about the unusual properties of malotiry, dictamus, purge or oregano. This time, we read that the scientists took another Cretan endemic plant under the microscope. Stamnagathi is a chicory variety growing in the wilderness of the Omalos plateau and the White Mountains. Currently, it is also grown by some garden farms.