Winemaking

  • Seasons In The Cellar: Summer Edition

    July 25, 2022 09:00

    As harvest is fast approaching in our Dry Creek vineyards, our winemaking team and cellar crew prep all of the empty tanks to make room for a new vintage. It's the calm before the storm.

     

    Follow us on social media to stay up to date with our harvest season.

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  • What is Grape Veraison

    July 21, 2022 12:34

    What is Grape Veraison

     UNDERSTANDING GRAPE VERAISON

    Each summer, grapes begin to change color in our Dry Creek Valley zinfandel vineyards. Grape veraison is the beginning of ripening, when red grapes change from green to purple colors. Veraison usually begins in July during moderate weather years, but in cooler vintages, zinfandel grapes don’t start changing color until late July, even early August at times. During ideal weather conditions, the time from coloration to harvest is typically about forty-five days.

    There’s much more to grape veraison than the fascinating color change we can see with our eyes. To allow vines to focus all their energy into the existing clusters hanging on their shoots, the grapes cease growing during this period of their lifecycle. This allows sugars to increase and acids to decrease.Mother Clone Zin Veraison

    WHY EVEN GRAPE VERAISON IS IMPORTANT

    Winemakers want the grape clusters to go through veraison quickly, because the uniformity of coloring within the clusters equals uniform flavors at harvest time. Being able to harvest uniformly ripened grapes is one of the keys to making a velvety, balanced Pedroncelli Zinfandel. If some grapes in the clusters are under-ripe, some perfect and some overripe, the finished wine will express some combination of too dry, too fruity and even too hot or high in alcohol. Only uniformly colored zinfandel grapes can make a balanced, smooth wine.

    Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Veraison

    ADDRESSING UNEVEN COLORS DURING VERAISON

    The warmer the weather, the more likely the grapes will change colors swiftly and uniformly. So, what does a winemaker do when the grapes change color unevenly? At Pedroncelli, we wait until veraison has taken 80% effect on our zinfandel vineyards, then we’ll start to trim off the “wings” and clusters that are still green. This sacrifice ensures the remaining grapes on the vine develop consistent flavors which will translate later into the wine.

    Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Wing Cluster

    Here's an example of a cluster with a “wing.” A wing is a small bunch that shares the same shoot as a fuller cluster.

    During ideal growing seasons, moderately warm temperatures help veraison happen at a perfect pace. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes start changing color in Dry Creek Valley during July and August, depending on when vineyard pruning occurred and the microclimate of each vineyard. In an average year, Pedroncelli’s Dry Creek vineyards complete veraison over two to three weeks. 

    DO GRAPES CHANGE COLOR AT DIFFERENT TIMES?

    Different red grapes varieties go through veraison at different times. Just like during harvest, we don’t always pick the same grapes at the same time. It is spread out over several weeks. If Zinfandel is in veraison now, then we’ll be picking about the second week of September. Cabernet Sauvignon on the other hand has not even started veraison and we’ll expect to pick these grapes at the end of September or beginning of October. It always depends on the weather between now and then too.

    Pedroncelli Winery Dry Creek Mother Clone Zinfandel 

    Follow us on social media to stay up to date with our harvest season.

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