Veraison, the moment in the vineyard when it all becomes real for vineyard owners. We have 6 weeks, give or take, before we start to pick. It is the Ready, Steady, Go in the wine world. I chose two grapes to talk about this month: Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Typically they are between 3-4 weeks apart when we do pick, Zinfandel ripening before Cabernet Sauvignon. The pattern begins with bud break in March, followed by crop set in May and finally veraison. The growing season is then dependent on the weather with balanced amounts of daytime heat and cooling evening fog. Hopefully the season will develop without extremes in order for the grapes to ripen at full maturity. The photos were taken on July 11 and, as you can see, the color change is substantial in the Zinfandel while the Cabernet Sauvignon, which experienced bud break later is also scheduled to be picked later. You’ll also notice the difference in the bunches with a range of smaller and larger, tighter berries in our Zin and small berries and looser bunches in the Cabernet.
Right now I’m told picking will commence mid-August as our Sauvignon Blanc is ripening up nicely. This is about one week earlier than ‘normal’ for us but not unusual. In September’s edition, we’ll likely be in the thick of harvest, our 87th!