Well, my favorite time in the vineyard is about to begin, and this photo pretty much tells the entire story why. I took this snap shot in our Montepulciano block 3-4 years ago almost to the day. These grapes are going through what is called “veraison”.
Veraison (vay-ray-ZON) marks the turning point in the two cycles of a grape clusters’ journey to harvest. The first cycle is a growth phase, and ends when the grape reaches full size and cell division in the skin stops. During the growth cycle all grapes (red and white) are the same color (the lima bean green you see) and are hard in texture.
Once the grapes reach full size, the ripening phase begins with veraision, which translates from French as “change of color of the grape berries”. They also begin to soften and become pliant when squeezed.
For the next six weeks or so, the sugars will increase as the acids decrease, and harvest should occur in late July when the sugars are about 25% of the juice.
I got lucky with the sunlight in this pic; the kaleidoscope of color and light is stunning. It reminds me of these inspiring lines from Wordsworth:
“ My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky”