The vine harvest is the process of gathering the grapes from the vineyards after their maturation. On Crete and, therefore, Chania, the temperate climate and the sunshine throughout the year create excellent conditions for growing grapevines, local varieties and not only.
Minoan varieties are cultivated even to this day, in the same soil and many times through almost the same production process. The vine harvest takes place depending on the type of grape and the altitude of the region, varying from the first ten days of August to early October.
For days and starting early in the morning – to avoid the hot sun – the farmers gather the ripe grapes in crates and take them either to local wineries or to their own wine press if it is a small amounts and the wine is for non-commercial use.
When the vine harvest is over, the grapes are pressed to extract their juice. In the traditional wine press, the producers crush the grapes with their feet in order to make must.
In some areas, the grapes are not crushed immediately after the vine harvest, but are left in the sun to further increase their sugar, so as the wine will have more degrees, be sweeter and stronger, with more alcohol.
After the grapes are pressed in the wine press, the must goes directly into barrels (wood, stainless steel, glass) or remains in the wine press for some hours to get color and tannins.
The fermenting must is also used for the dessert of moustaleuria. To stop the process of fermentation of the must, which produces wine, they throw into it ash and then they proceed to prepare the dessert.