From a winemaking perspective harvest is probably the most anticipated time of year. The common question in winery circles goes, “So, are you ready for harvest?”. This is in relation to not only all of the preparations necessary to coordinate for equipment, staff, and scheduling but also the overall mindset that those directly affected by the harvest must psyche themselves up for. Harvest is a high energy, often chaotic event so those who have spent many years managing it know to prep themselves ahead of time to keep that chaos to a minimum.
One of the key areas to have prepared ahead of time is their compliance. From a compliance standpoint there are three main areas to be updated from year to year as harvest approaches. Those would be the “What, When & Where” in relation to the grapes soon to be arriving for the season. The “what” refers to the entire list of fruit sources a winery is receiving for the season. Will there be any new fruit sources? Will there be repeat fruit sources from previous years? Details on tonnage estimates and any contract (grape) updates all need to be maintained in compliance records. The “when” is the ongoing schedule of arriving fruit deliveries. Since the compliance system at a winery also maintains the details on the weights of each fruit load which is used to make payments to growers they need to be kept in the loop as to what fruit is arriving when to ensure they already have the necessary background on the fruit in their systems. Lastly, the “where” details needed for compliance purposes is related to fruit that will either be sold to another winery or fermented at another winery site. Both of these sitations are now extremely common in the wine industry. Wineries often do not have a need to use all of the fruit they grow so it is sold to others. They do however want the details on when the fruit was harvested, how much was harvested (weight), and who it went to, all of which is kept track of by their compliance systems. In the case that a winery is sending some its fruit to another winery site where it will be fermented here again all the details from start to finish in that process are maintained by their recordkeeping system.
Just as a vineyard is maitained throughout the year to ensure it is healthy and productive the compliance systems that tie-in to the eventual product from those vineyards require the same ongoing attention and care. When they are given that the result is a wealth of readily available, useful data that wineries use throughout the year.