“Extra, Extra!” A new feature to be posted to The Maverick Palate, starting today I will be defining wine terms: la première édition:

Green Harvesting

“Green,” a damaging descriptor to a wine. When it’s assigned, the taster/ critic is saying they can tell the wine did not reach full ripeness and potential. Unfavorable. Another term exists, related only in color, and proves to be an important step to ensuring that your wines do reach their desired ripeness.

The term: “Green harvesting,” a technique employed by vineyard managers, owners, winemakers (and anyone else involved in the process of making a wine) to cut back the amount of grapes that are being produced to allow a consistent and directed ripeness to occur naturally in the remaining fruit. Taking some of the unripe grape clusters away and pruning back the suckers on the vine, allow the energy to travel through the vines, distributing it evenly. Reducing the yield avoids lack of flavor, in theory.

Green harvesting is huge in France; I have come across the term many times when reading about the successes of certain Chateaux in publications like Decanter or Wine Spectator—lauding Ponet-Canet and others for their prudence in instituting this technique and seeing it work well.

For the practical application (many of us will not own a vineyard anytime soon, if ever) think about tomatoes, cutting away all the excess suckers that appear in-between the vines may decrease the yield but you are left with more robust fruit.