Next comes the vintage, a critical and difficult period because each variety should be harvested at its optimum maturity, based upon the sugar and acid ration. Upon nearing maturity, the grapes must be tested repeatedly until they reach the desired ratios. The deficiency of one or the other greatly affects the final wines.
Once harvested, the grapes are delivered to the winery either in grape picking boxes or in bulk, such as in steel gondola trailers, which hold anywhere from 1 to 5 tons of grapes. Upon delivery, a gondola is raised from one side by means of a mechanical hoist, thus causing the grapes to slide and role out onto a conveyor, which, in turn, carries the grapes to the crusher.
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