For once I’m not going to talk about the weather.
After a fantastic summer we are about to reach the onset of Veraison.
Often we find ourselves saying this is an exciting time in the vineyard. Veraison is one of the true highlights of the year however. Veraison is a French word which has come to mean the onsite of grape ripening, but in all reality is the change of colour of the berries. It represents the transition from berry growth to berry ripening: up until now the grapes have been going through cell division and expansion,the initial phase of berry growth. As berry growth slows the lag phase takes over. The lag phase is not a physiological stage, but a designation between the two periods of berry development. This is when veraision occurs.
Up until this point the vineyard is a sea of green, with the grapes camoufluaged against a backdrop of leaves and shoots. From here on in it all changes, in the red varieties (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) anthocyanin’s start to develop in the fruit which cause the fruit to change colour to blue/red/black, while in the whites they start to get a yellowish hue.
After we see the colour change it’s all about the sugar and acid. The sugar in the berries accumulate and the acidity levels drop. The tannins become less bitter-tasting and softer, the grapes become more palatable and finally we have something to show for the season.
Cameron Roucher – Vineyard Manager