MAKING YOUR LATE HARVEST
When the growing season is hot and dry, the vineyardist is more at liberty (less at risk) to
manage the vines and the fruit for the possible production of a true late harvest. A few late rains
(1 or 2 showers, not a full week) in September and early October will be all that is needed to
encourage the "Noble Rot" Botrytis Cinerea to form. This unique fungus dehydrates the berries
causing actual raisins to form on the cluster. This dehydration concentrates the sugars, aromas and
flavors of the grape. Delicious hints of apricot, peach, raisins and honey permeate the juice and
the wine to be.
A few things to keep in mind when crafting your "Late Harvest":
1. The high sugars create a more hostile environment for the yeast;
2. A high acidity is desirable to properly balance the high residual sugar in the finished
3. The wines usually take much longer to ferment and to "fall bright".
With your Late Harvest Vignoles (Ravat 51) we are recommending an adjustment of
the total acidity (TA) up to a figure of 1.1% if necessary and stopping the
fermentation at a level of 6 Brix (hydrometer reading).
To adjust your total acidity from say .855 to 1.1 - use tartaric acid at a rate of 40 grams per
5 gallons (OR) acid bend at the rate of 35 grams per 5 gallons.
To arrest the fermentation use a combination of racking, the addition of metabisulfite and
sorbate, and chilling, when the desired Brix level is achieved.
An application of Bentonite at label recommended rates might assist in the clarification of the
For yeast, we recommend the use of Red Star Cotes des Blanc or Lalvin71B.
If you chose to make your Riesling as a Late Harvest, it is optional to use
Cotes Des Blanc (Epernay2) for the fermentation. We recommend a total acidity (TA) of .9 to .95
with an initial Brix of 23 - 24 degrees and stopping the fermentation at a level of 2 Brix
(hydrometer reading). Proceed as above for the clarification and stopping of the fermentation. Good
luck and enjoy.
We have picked our late harvest. The late harvest most easily achieved in our vineyard is
Vignoles or Ravat 51. Once in a while (about every 20 years or so), we can have a late
Vidal with the potential for a higher acid is another consideration for a late harvest. We
do not provide a late harvest Vidal, due to the already late ripening time. A winemaker
(amateur) can adjust sugars to 30-40 brix to craft a late harvest style wine.