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Grapes and wine

Wine is a product obtained by complete or partial alcohol fermentation of must obtained of fresh grapes harvested from wine grape varieties. A vine variety plays a significant role in the quality of wine apart from ripeness and other characteristic of the fruit. There is only one vine variety that is used for producing wine (vitis vinifera). However, there are around 10 000 sub-varieties of grapes in the world today. They are the result of natural selection with a huge impact of generations of grape growers.
CrvenoVinoAs of the beginning of civilization until today, wine is considered to be the most cultivated and the most civilized means for providing pleasure. It is created as a result of the alcoholic fermentation of sugar in grape juice - must, and it is characterized by a specific chemical composition and sensory characteristics that have ensured it a special place in peoples lives for ages. The Greek philosopher Plutarch (50-125 BC) stated that wine is the most useful of all drinks, the most tasteful of all medicines and the most pleasant of all food, while the father of modern enology (science of wine) Louis Pasteur said that wine was the healthiest and the most hygienic of all drinks.

Apart from alcohol, wine contains lots of other ingredients: organic acids, mineral matters, vitamins, phenol compounds (coloured and tannin matters) that have a favourable effect on organism and attenuate alcohol effect to a great extent. Wine acid has a
BeloVinodiuretic effect which means that it stimulates and activates kidney function. On the other hand, red wines are richer in terms of contents of phosphorous and iron and they are recommended to persons who are anaemic. It was established a long time ago that it destroys the bacteria causing typhus and cholera. Phenol compounds that can be found in wine can prevent from diabetes, Alzheimer disease, heart failure and vascular diseases. It should be noted that one litre of wine gives energy as one litre of milk or 10 eggs or even half a loaf of rye bread. But one must not forget that wine is drunk with a fork which means that some food must be consumed as well. Otherwise, it wouldnt be a pleasure and stimulating agent, driver of mood at table, power that creates poets, and it will become Gods punishment, and those who have no measure in drinking will be destroyed. The old physician Paracelsus said Dosis facit venenum which means that it is the quantity on which it depends whether something will act as poison or not.


The quality of wine depends on the quality of grapes (quality of grapes depends on the quality of vine variety, vine base, climate, soil, phyto-sanitary status, yield, moment and method of harvesting) and the quality of a technological procedure of grape processing. The time of harvesting is of extreme significance for the quality of future wine. When we speak about wine production in stricto sensu (literally), harvested grapes prior to its technological ripeness for example with 13 to 15% of sugar and after technological ripeness in over-ripe condition with 24 do 26% sugar, in terms of quality gives much lower quality wine than if grapes harvested in their technological ripeness of with 20 to 22% sugar were used.

Wine production starts with the grape harvesting and thus special attention should be paid to time of grape harvesting. The beginning of harvesting is important also for other fruits, and since wine is the best drink of all drinks then grapes as the fruit of vine would be the best of all fruits, and this is the reason why the word harvesting may be found both in the books about viticulture and wine production, and in poetry. The general rule says that the grapes are harvested in the condition of their "technological ripeness because at that moment it has the most favourable chemical condition, and in the first place it means the contents of sugar on which the quantity of alcohol (ethanol) depends in future wine.

However, apart from sugar, coloured, fragrant and other chemical substances, the grapes also contains organic acids that will turn into must and half of its contents will be found in wine later. This is particularly important since acids provide smoothness and freshness of white wine. White wines with little acids are characterized as tasteless" and on the other hand they get spoilt faster.

The physical and chemical composition and sensory characteristics of the wine depend on the machines used in the primary processing of grapes (type of a press, manner of filtrating the spout) and the conditions under which alcoholic fermentation occurs (purification of the must, processing with bentonite, application of selected wine yeast and temperature during fermentation). In order to preserve the quality of wine produced in the contemporary technological concept of production, attention should be paid to pouring wine from one vessel to another while storing wine, filling up the vessels, maintaining released SO2 at certain level and particularly to the temperature at which the wine is stored. It is a well-known fact that high temperatures during storing may have a negative impact on its quality due to degradation of ester and loss of fruit character of carbon-dioxide and thus the loss of freshness and flavour of white wines.


Deep ploughing is the first activity that takes place in a vineyard. Ploughing is used to prepare the soil for the next season.
OranjeThe benefits of deep ploughing are as follows:

  • By moving soil layers, the most fertile soil is placed to such a depth at which a vine plant may have the most benefit of it.
  • It enables a better penetration of the root and grasping a bigger surface resulting in a better development of the root and the vine plant in total.
  • Deep ploughing throws wooden parts and roots of weeds on the surface and thus ensures soil cleaning.
  • After deep ploughing, the soil retains a greater quantity of water coming from autumnal and winter precipitations and thus ensure a better water retention and management in the soil.
  • This measure ensures more favourable water and air conditions for the soil, at the same time activating micro-organisms and a series of chemical processes which contributes to the establishment of more favourable conditions for fruit-bearing and long life of a vine plant.

Deep ploughing in Vrsa?cki vinogradi AD is conducted at the end of October and during November, immediately after the completion of harvesting.

Pruning represents the basic and very important ample-technical measure that is regularly applied in a vineyard. It was established a long time ago that the plants whose shoots were cut or eaten by animals had a better yield and gave bigger and better quality grapes. Thus pruning was introduced as the first measure in cultivating vine. At the time of Roman rule only wine from pruned vineyards was allowed for use in church ceremonies, because it was of a better quality.

After a vine plant becomes capable of giving a full yield, the basic pruning is conducted every year. This is done in order to leave a certain number of buds for new grape yielding shoots. Depending on biological characteristics of grown varieties, grown shape and necessary burdening of the vine plant with grape yielding buds, short, long or combined pruning is applied.

It is necessary to perform constant regeneration and renewing vine plants during pruning. Therefore long, deformed and inactive parts of the vine plant are removed every year.


The basic aims of viticulture are as follows:

  • Formation of the basic shape of the vine plant in young vineyards.
  • Maintaining the shaped vine plant in such a condition to give yield for long so that all its parts could be healthy, and all vine plant parts regularly distributed in the space.
  • Determining a standard number of buds, shoots and clusters on the vine plant.
  • Regulating growing and yield status, establishment and maintenance of a regular relation between the vegetative development and quantity of yield.
  • Regulating the quality of grapes, establishment of a regular proportion between the quantity of yield, ripeness and quality of grapes.
  • Regenerating the old and deformed vine plants in view of rejuvenating the vine plant.
  • Removal of dry and bare parts of the vine plant, as well as the parts destroyed by hail, strong frosts and mechanical injuries caused by machines.

In grape yielding vineyards, ripe pruning is done at the time of vine plant ageing, during the period after the leaves have fallen down in autumn and budding of shoots in the spring next year. The time of pruning depends on climate conditions in particular viticulture regions.
The varieties that are the most resistant to frosts are pruned first, as well as the elevated crops where the frosts are of lower intensity.
Pruning is conducted with scissors for pruning.
The most famous are scissors under the trademark Felco, Cunde, Kuker....
In Vrsacki vinogradi AD, the pruning process starts at the beginning of December and lasts until March next year.

Clearing the vine is a measure applied in vineyards after the pruning process. During this process, pruned and wooden parts of the vine plant between the rows are removed thus enabling an uninterrupted passage for workers and machines.

This process is conducted with the use of tractors with the trailers which collect and drag the pruned parts to the accessory paths.


Immediately after pruning, stools undergo a detailed overhaul.

Irrespective of the construction of the stool, every year certain pillars bend, break or wire in rows tears down. This is caused by inclined terrains, wind, and breakage of material (wire), weight of leaves and grapes, or mechanical damage due to human negligence. Thus a detailed overhaul of the stools should be conducted immediately after pruning, and it includes:

  • The replacement of broken pillars.
  • The replacement of anchors and wire.
  • Straightening and fixing pillars.
  • Replacement of broken wire or its extension.
  • Stretching wire.

The overhaul of the stools, straightening of the pillars and stretching wire should be done well because the stools and wire will be burdened with the arches, shoots and later with the grapes. If this is not done correctly, vine plants bend, go out from rows and get damaged and broken during tractor operations.


Upon the completion of the overhaul of stools, arches are tied. Arches are ties with a thin tie, and recently with a plasticized strip or gum strip with the thin wire in its base.

While tying, the arches are distributed at the level of vine plant in row stool and as regular distribution should be provided as possible. This enables a regular distributionof green shoots that later develop on the arches. The position of arches depends on the type of stools and growing shape of the plant.

While tying arches, a different position may be ensured. Arches are usually tied on a wire.

Arches are tied during the period of the inactivity of the vine plant. Shoots that are left for arch are saturated with water by now, they are elastic and they bend easily. Tying arches must be done prior to budding.

In view of determining the amount of yield and grape quality, the additional green pruning measures are applied. They are conducted during the vegetation period of the vine, from the beginning of development of green shoots until the end of grape ripening phase. This action results in correcting the level of burdening of the vine plant with grape yielding shoots, regulating the distribution of shoots and clusters on the vine plant, size of leaves and surface, quantity of yield and quality of grapes.

The regular measures of green pruning include:

  • Removal of surplus shoots
  • Cutting off shoot tops
  • Removal of surplus leaves
  • Tying shoots

The removal of surplus shoots is the basic and most important measure of green pruning determining the total number of shoots and the number of inflorescence and clusters on the vine plant. By means of this process, the basic pruning can be corrected to the greatest possible extent and thus affect the amount of yield and quality of grapes.

The removal of surplus shoots is conducted in the phase of intensive growth of green shoots when they are around 20 cm long. During this process, non-yielding shoots are removed. Also, shoots are removed from arches if they are more numerous than they should be after pruning. Young green shoots can be removed manually.

Timely and correct removal of surplus shoots affects physiological processes of the vine. This enables a better illumination of the vine plant and it has a favourable effect on inflorescence and budding, and later to grape ripening. After the removal of surplus shoots, a better growth of basic shoots and development of clusters on them are ensured. The phyto-climate of the vine plant is changed and this affects the productivity of photosynthesis. The amount of yield and quality of grapes are regulated, which is of particular importance in case of table wine varieties. The quantity of the agents used for vine protection is also reduced.

Also, surplus shoots are removed from the arches and replacements. This process is conducted twice during a short period of time when the shoots are 10-15 cm long and when they are around 25-30 cm long. Since this is a period of intensive vegetation, the process should be repeated in 5-7 days.

In the modern technology of vine growing, shoots are regularly cut when they reach a certain length. During this cutting process, long top parts of the shoots are removed. This cutting process is conducted 4-5 times a year, the first time after flourishing and the last time in the phase of grape and shoots ripening. It looks like this in months:

I - beginning of June
II - mid of June
III - beginning of July
IV - end of July
V - mid August

Cutting off the tops of shoots in the early phase, prior to flourishing (when 2-3 leaves are cut from them) increases the yield of grapes by 10-15%. Cutting off the tops of shoots in the phase after flourishing increases the size of berries. The shoots that have grown out of the row wire are shortened in the later stage. In this way the vineyard is protected from diseases, its protection is enabled and a necessary relationship between the weight of leaves and grapes is established.

Cutting off the tops of shoots in the phase of cluster ripening accelerates grape ripening by 8-12 days and increases the level of sugar in grape juice by 1-2%.

Cutting off the tops of shoots helps shoots ripening.

The need for tying green shoots exists during the whole vegetation period. The basic aim of tying green shoots is to give them a regular position and protect them from breaking.
The first tying of green shoots is conducted when they are between 25 and 30 cm long, usually 10 days before flourishing.
The second tying of the shoots is conducted after flourishing, when the shoots are between 75 and 80 cm long.
The third tying is conducted as appropriate in the varieties that are subject to quick and long-term growing of shoots.
It should be noted that the works on tying green shoots are usually combined with cutting off their tops, to save time and work.

Tying contributes to:

  • Regular distribution of all above ground vine plants, in view of a better illumination and ventilation of vine plants.
  • Reducing the speed of growth and expression of polarities phenomena that can have a negative impact on the yield and quality of grapes, which is achieved by bringing the shoots into inclined or horizontal position.
  • Bringing the shoots that will form yielding arches in the straight direction, increasing their potential fertility in that way.
  • Maintenance of the chosen shape of the vine plant and preventing the shoots from falling down due to the weight of grapes, or from breaking caused by wind.
  • Establishment of favourable conditions for using machines for cultivating soil, protecting and cultivating vine plants.


Undoubtedly, weeds are the most dangerous competitors to the vine in the consumption of water and mineral matters. Under the impact of spring and summer rains, soil in the vineyard becomes harder and weeds appear in early spring. Weeds and hard soul skin contribute to the reduction of soil humidity. The classical procedure for removing these problems is shallow processing hoeing (dusting) of a vineyard. In this way the layer of soil 5 to 10 cm thick is processed.

Weeds within the rows are destroyed manually by hoeing or spraying with herbicides.

The first destroying of the weeds is done by hoeing and the remaining 3-4 by spraying with herbicides. The number of spraying depends both on the quantity of weeds and coverage of the vineyard in grass, as well as on weather conditions (during raining years, the number of spraying reaches 6 times).

Hoeing in Vrsacki vinigradi AD is done manually, with a hoe. The workers hoe the rows of vine plants that could not be treated with machines. Attention is taken not to damage vine plants with the hoe blades.

There are lots of types of herbicides. According to the intensity of action they are divided in total and selective ones. Total herbicides destroy all plants and the selective ones destroy only certain types of weed plants.
According to the type of action, herbicides are divided in contact and trans-locational. The contact herbicides destroy the tissues with which they came into contact, while trans-locational or systemic ones carry over their action to the inside of the plant and reach all the parts of the plant.
Contact herbicides are usually used since their action is fast and quick and their use is characterized as chemical hoeing.
The lots with more weed (several years old weeds and weeds reproducing vegetatively) are treated with translocational herbicides.
The herbicides must be handled carefully since they are poisonous and may cause harm to human health. Also, attention should be paid so that they do not come in contact with the vine

One hectare of a vineyard is treated with 80 l of herbicide agent.

Inter-row space is not sprayed with herbicides but the cultivation is done by machines. The lining machine is an accessory machine that is connected to a tractor and it contains 7 ploughs in the shape of duck legs.The process of cultivation lining destroys grass and their root in the inter-row space and improves water and air conditions of the soil. The lining is performed at the depth of 5-10 cm. Depending on the quantity and frequency of precipitations, the cultivation is performed 3-5 times a year.

Quality vine (V. Vinifera L.) belongs to the group of plants that are very sensitive to diseases and vermin. The specific character of the vine in comparison to other species of the variety Vitis is reflected in the fact that it is very sensitive to diseases (downy mildew, oidium) and pests (phylloxera) that were brought to Europe from America, while the vine species brought from America are usually resistant to these diseases and pests.

The protection of the vine during the regular yield bearing includes the protection during the inactivity period and the protection during vegetation.

During the inactivity period, the protection includes destroying insects that live under the skin of a vine plant and its shoots, and these usually include grape moths, shield lice and flower thrips. The pests are treated after pruning and prior to vegetation with the preparations based on DNOC, the so-called yellow oils.

During the vegetation period, depending on weather conditions, conditions for the incidence of a disease and the sensitivity of the vine in certain phenol-phases, protection should be in place against the most dangerous diseases and pests.

The protection is conducted in the following phases:

  • During the movement of the shoots, in the phase with 3-4 leaves, the shoots are sensitive to black mould and numerous pests such as grape moth, thrips, mites, hairy bugs, etc.
  • The protection is performed by using fungicides and insecticides.
  • In the phase when the shoots are 20-25 cm long, one more treatment with the same preparations is recommended.

In the phase when the shoots become 40 cm long the conditions for the appearance of oidium and black mould are favourable, as well as for the development of numerous pests. In this phase, the first signs of downy mildew may be identified (primary infection). The use of the same preparations as in the previous two phases is also recommended.

  • Protection is avoided in the inflorescence phase, but if it is needed, the protection against oidium may be conducted when the sulphur powder is used or the agents that have no harmful effects on flourishing, fertilization and formation of berries.
  • During the phase after flourishing and formation of berries, the greatest danger comes from downy mildew, oidium and grey rot (Botritis cinerea). Fungicides based on copper are used in this phase (against downy mildew), based on sulphur (against oidium) and some of numerous botricides (against Botritis).
  • In the phase of an intensive growth of berries there is a permanent danger from downy mildew, oidium, Botritis and berry moth.
  • During the phase of grape ripening the greatest danger comes from Botritis, and necessary protection should be applied.

The protection during the vegetation period must not be understood as something that needs to be applied regularly, but it must be adjusted to environmental issues, phenol-phases of vine development and conditions for disease development.

Harvesting of the projected assortment represents a huge and significant job. The physical volume and the quality of production depend on timely and successful harvest.

Grape ripening is primarily physiological and biochemical process. Sugars and organic acids are synthesized, transformed, moved from one place to another, accumulated and degraded. The changes in the chemical composition of the grape juice determine its nutritive value, flavour and fragrance of berries, and their colour and hardness. After the full ripening of fruit stopping of the process of sugar accumulation and degradation of organic acids, the changes that occur in grapes are primarily of physical nature water evaporates, sugars get concentrated, berries dry out.

Harvesting is the final and very important organizational and technical part of grape production technology. Grapes are by rule harvested in their full ripeness because their variety characteristics are then expressed to the greatest extent.

The basic indicator of grape ripeness is the chemical composition of grape juice. The share of sugar and organic acids in the grape juice and their proportion is the most important for determining the ripeness of grapes and time of harvesting.

There are several ways to determine the ripeness of fruits and they are classified in three categories: organoleptic, physical and chemical.

Organoleptic methods for determining the ripeness of grapes
The method is based on a subjective assessment of a larger number of phenomena and status of the vine plant and grapes. The reality of the assessment depends on the experience of the person conducting the assessment and the sensitivity of his/her senses (sight, smell, taste and touch) and knowledge of variety features. The assessment is based on the knowledge of the following characteristics:

  • Leaves gradually change their colour.
  • Stem and the berries show changes turning dry
  • Berries get the colour characteristic for the variety
  • Flavour and fragrance become harmonic and characteristic for each variety.

Physical methods for determining the ripeness of grapes
These methods are often used for quick identification of the sugar share in grape juice. Reflectometers and must meters are often used in practice.
provide the data on the participation of dry matter in the grape juice. Providing data on this issue is based on physical measurement of light reflection through liquids of different density.
Determining sugar share by means of a must meter is based on measuring density, and/or specific weight of grape juice.
The most famous must meters are Excels and Closterneiburg meters.


Chemical method for determining grape ripeness
The level of sugar in grape juice can be precisely identified by chemical process. However, this process is very complex and requires a laboratory technique and a high level of analytical and chemical experience and thus it is not often used in practice to determine the ripeness of grapes and the moment of harvesting.
Chemical method is however widely applied for determining the percentage of total acids in a grape juice.

Indicator (index) of grape ripeness
On the basis of sugar share and the total contents of acids in grape juice, the ripeness of grapes may be objectively determined and thus the time of harvesting. The full technical ripeness of grapes is achieved when the sugar share does not increase, and the total share of acids does not decrease.
In order to determine when the grapes are in their full ripeness, the identification of sugar and acid share should be started 10 to 14 days prior to the usual time of harvesting.
In practice it means that wine varieties grapes are harvested when its must contains 22-24% of sugar and 6-7% of total acids.
When the expert committee determines that grapes have achieved their technological ripeness, harvesting should start. Early varieties are harvested first when they reach their technological ripeness.
Harvesting in a vineyard looks like this: 6-8 women (harvesters) and one man compose a harvesting group. Two women enter one row (each from one side) and cut the cluster with a knife and put it in a bucket. When they fill up the bucket they pour it into a barrel that a man carries on his back. When all the women have poured their grapes in the barrel and the barrel is filled up, a man carries it to the trailer, climbs the ladder and empties the barrel. He reports the name of his group to a person in charge of recording. His task is to record every barrel and to take care that every barrel is filled up to the top i.e., to have similar weight. Based on these records the average weight of a barrel is calculated and based on that the performance of each group. The average weight of grapes in the barrel is 20 kg. Upon emptying the barrel into the trailer, a man goes back to his group to collect new quantities.


Viticulture production is very complex and depends on numerous factors. Irrespective of whether we see it as the production of a final product grapes, or as the production of raw materials, we must take care of its organization.

Since a vineyard is an plant under the open sky" and since it depends on weather conditions, all available resources must be used to their maximum. Also, the viticulture production depends from humans to a great extent and it includes a good organization and quality management. As in all other business activities, the primary aim is to use all human, technical, technological and material resources in order to have the best possible quality with least costs. Since this is also the production that requires huge material investments, the organization must be improved and costs reduced.