Veraison: A Colorful Process
If you can stand the heat, summer can be a beautiful time in the vineyard. One thing that makes it so colorful is veraison.
Veraison is the name given to the process in which the grapes change colors from green to golden or green to purple or red. During this process, you can see individual barries on bunches changing colors at different times making for a magical kaleidoscope of yellows, greens, and purples.
Along with this color change comes more intense aromas. All of this is to let animals (and us) know that the fruit is ready to eat. We, however, don’t rely solely on veraison to tell us the grapes are ready to go. During this time, we are constantly testing the sugar content of the grapes. This involves going down rows of vines pulling a few grapes off each vine. We then squish them all up and take a Degrees Brix reading. That is a fancy way of saying that we are looking for the amount of sugar in the grapes. Each varietal has a different ideal level of sugar that we are looking for.
When the grape reaches that magical Brix number we are ready to harvest!
- Angela Chapman, WSET III