Veraison in the vineyard always feels like a magical time; it is a key stage in the grapevine’s annual lifecycle. It is a viticulture (grape-growing) term that describes the stage of grape development when the berry softens and begins to change color, which signifies the transition from grape growth to grape ripening. Grape clusters begin to go through color changes (red varietals change from green to red, while white varietals go from green to yellow), berry softening (sugars start to accumulate while acids start to decrease), and tannin development in the skins (bitterness and astringency). At our estate vineyard this year in Geyserville, the Syrah was the first to start this beautiful process.
We checked in with Winemaker, Nick Briggs, this morning, and he said, “We are currently mid-veraison, meaning anywhere from just a few purple berries on a cluster, to nearly complete, all purple. When we get to 90-95% in a block, our crew will go through and remove any clusters that are still all, or mostly green. This will ensure all of the grapes are tracking on the same ripening curve.”
Ideally, we are looking for the grapes to complete veraison relatively quickly, with uniform coloring providing even flavors while creating a smooth and balanced wine. With the increase in sugar at this time, the aroma profile begins to develop, and acidity levels will decrease bringing in that perfect balance of flavor. Keeping a close eye on the grapes during veraison is super important because it allows for the adjustment of vineyard practices to ensure grape quality.
Things are really beginning to ramp up and get exciting, with the growing season getting that much closer to the 2023 harvest! Most years, our Bucher Vineyard Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley is the first wine to be harvested – we are eager to see if this stays true this year. Come by for a wine tasting at our estate vineyards to see the magic for yourself!
-The DCW Team