It’s summertime in the vineyards!
July’s warm weather is a time for long summer days and ripening grape clusters. Little green berries start to turn with the summer sun. By mid July, pops of purple are showing up everywhere in eager varieties. The first wine grape variety to start showing off its purple hues is our Tempranillo. Named after the Spanish word “temprano”, meaning “early,” Tempranillo kicks off veraison for our red grape varieties.
…but what is veraison anyway?
Varaison is the stage in the berry growth process where the color changes from green to purple. It is the second to last stage before the grapes are fully matured and ready for harvest. Here is a break down of all the grape growing stages and what our beautiful tasty wine grapes do in the vineyard before they are crushed and fermented.
After the berries are fully formed at the end of the Fruit Set stage, they start to ripen. Veraison is characterized by the berries softening and accumulating sugar. The darker the berry ripens, the more sugar it has been able to hold on to. We love sugar for our wine making!
However, we wouldn’t advise tasting grapes before the clusters are evenly purple. This stage of purple and green still visible is just the first signal that sugar is around the corner. If you took one off now the acidity and tartness would knock your taste buds off.
Overall, we’re right on target with when we expect to see veraison in Clarksburg. Once the grapes are completely purple and the clusters are softening we’ll start weekly lab (and taste!) testing to determine when the grapes are at their peak ripeness. The warm, long days of summer will soon turn to fall and we’ll be ready for harvest! For now we’re keeping busy with our fruit thinning, canopy management, and drip line irrigation during our heatwaves.