Grape to Glass: Veraison
In the world of grape growers, veraison is an exciting time. Not only is it when the grapes start to change color, it also means that harvest is just around the corner.
Usually in mid-August, the grapes begin to take on their final colors of purple – but this happens unevenly, so there are different colors of grapes on the same vine. Visually, veraison is the first sign to separate red wine grapes from white wine grapes. White grapes change color from green to a golden beige, red grapes begin to change to a light purple.
In terms of wine production, when veraison begins, the acidity of the grape begins to decrease, and sugar levels increase. The grape grower will wait until the sugar levels (also called Brix) are at the right level before picking the grapes. Then the winemaking process begins!
Veraison usually completes in about a week. Once grapes complete veraison, it’s six short weeks until they’re ready to harvest. An increase in weight and volume, as well as a slight softening of the grape can indicate veraison.
The color of the grapes can also attract birds. Wineries try all kinds of tactics to keep birds away, from predator bird calls to reflective mylar. If vineyards aren’t protected, those purple colors are a signal for hungry birds to come dine.
Keeping birds at bay, enjoying the grape’s natural journey and looking forward to harvest – veraison is a time of joyful anticipation.
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