crop thinning, viticultural practice which, it is claimed, improves wine quality by encouraging fruit ripening. It is known as éclaircissage or vendange verte (green harvest) in French. Some bunches are removed from the vine and those remaining should in theory ripen more quickly with the benefit of improved leaf to fruit ratio. Crop thinning is usually carried out by hand, and is therefore expensive. mechanical harvesters are occasionally used to thin crops, removing individual berries or parts of bunches.