Definition - What does Engustment mean?
Engustment is a stage in the growth of a grape vine. It takes place during ripening, just after veraison. During this stage, the aromas and flavors of the grape intensify while the tannins and anthocyanin develop. Grape growers, vineyard managers and viticulturists typically harvest the grapes during engustment because this stage allows for the greatest aromatic potential of the future wine.
WineFrog explains Engustment
Engustment was first used in the 1990s. The term comes from the Latin “Augustus”, which means taste. It was created to denote a previously unnamed period during grape ripening where the varietal characteristics become apparent in the berries. Engustment takes place after veraison, which is when the berries start taking on their color.
During engustment, water flow (xylem) is lower and the sugars are changing into glycoside, which creates the primary flavors and aromas. Tannins and anthocyanin (color) are also developing. This stage is distinct from the sugar and acid interactions of ripening, because a grape can be ripe with sugar and acid, but immature when it comes to tannins, aromas and flavors. It is in the Engustment stage that all of those components develop to create a well balanced, varietally true berry.
Engustment only lasts a few days, though the length varies depending on the variety. When engustment is complete, the flavor components break down into post-ripening flavors (prune-like and raisin-like flavors). Grape growers monitor the berries closely during this stage to ensure that the berries are picked at the right time to create premium wines.