Selective Harvesting

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

selective harvesting is a key application of precision viticulture and the major management strategy employed in zonal viticulture. It involves the split picking of fruit according to different yield/quality criteria in order to exploit the variation observed within a vineyard and to maximize the uniformity of individual fruit parcels delivered to the winery. These fruit parcels may then be selected for different wines—perhaps for different styles or at different price points. Typically, different parts of the same vineyard block are harvested into separate bins, either during a single operation or at different times. Early adoption of this strategy was predominantly by small-scale producers or by large companies with the equipment to process small lots. However, recent research has demonstrated that selective harvesting may be profitable even when production is geared to large fermentation volumes. For example, a block of Cabernet Sauvignon might be mechanically harvested into either of two bins, depending on location within the block, in order to maximize the volume produced of a high-value varietal wine by allocating fruit from areas producing lower-value material to a lower-value blended wine. Under conventional uniform management, only the latter would have been produced from the block.