• The Turning Point

    June 25, 2019 15:00

    The Turning Point

    July always marks a turning point during growing season in our vineyard. From March to June the vines start with budbreak, flower and set the crop all the while growing by leaps and bounds. Shoots measuring 6 inches in April are now 2 feet in length by the end of June. The turning point in the growth of grape bunches is when we begin to see the first shades of purple in our red wine grapes or the pale yellow-green as the white wine grapes soften and devleop-and that is called veraison.

    We are about two weeks behind since bud break was late and there is no ‘catching up’ in the vineyard. As a result, veraison will be a bit later this month and I’ve heard grape growers around here predicting a ‘normal’ harvest start date-which means at this point the end of August. Rule of thumb among the vineyard growers is six weeks to harvest from the time veraison begins. We'll see the white wine grapes like our Sauvignon Blanc come in first followed by red wine grapes like Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, the early reds, coming in a week or two later. This, of course, is dependent on the weather we receive in the next two months, once again deferring to Mother Nature and what she has in store for us.

  • On Vacation

    July 10, 2015 15:44

    The grapes aren't on vacation this month. They are turning color (veraison is the term) and beginning their journey to harvest.

    Veraison time

  • Veraison Pt. 2

    September 1, 2014 16:02

    Last month I talked about veraison, a key moment in the vineyard when the grapes start to turn color, develop and ripen. I thought it would be fun to follow the same vines over the next couple of months as they get closer to being harvested. The first photos were taken on July 11. I sent Ed out to take photos on August 11. You can compare the two here and see what a difference four weeks makes in color and size. We have had near-perfect conditions for the third year in a row and are happy with the quality we are seeing on the vines. We were out tasting the grapes right around the time of the photos with Lance, our vineyard manager. When discussing our picking philosophy he said “while we rely on taking samples (from different areas of each vineyard and testing them at the winery for sugar, acid and pH) it is actually tasting the grapes I find most important when deciding to pick.” It becomes second nature to know when the grapes are ready. Just ask John or Jim—they’ve been tasting these grapes longer than any of us here.

    Veraison Comparison

  • Veraison Pt. 1

    August 1, 2014 16:06

    Turning color

    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!