1 2-300x225 21304baa11d7f8957f787fe1588423ba (1)Well its that time of year again.   Harvest is just around the corner.  I wanted to take a moment to upload some pictures and explain what is happening in them.
So how technical do you want me to be? I think I heard someone say “very.”  Here it goes guys and gals.
Veraision in the Vineyard
Veraision in the Vineyard
Veraision in the Vineyard
Veraision in the Vineyard
Have a look at these pictures I took yesterday.   In them, you can see varied color in the fruit clusters.  That’s happening because even though these are ‘red grapes’ they start out like all other grapes as green.  What you’re seeing here is known as “veraision,” which is the french phrase for the onset of the ripening process.
While the color changes, and it will ultimately deepen in intensity a little more still (anthocyanins and xanthophylls), other things are happening inside the grape too.  One of those is the accumulation of sugars in the fruit.  Lets take a minute to go back to high school bio class.
Plants have a vascular system just like we do.  But instead of arteries and veins, they have xylem and phloem.  This vascular system plays an important role in sugar development in the berries as they regulate the supply of water to them.  The more water there is, the more the flavors and sugars are diluted.  Some vineyards, to the extent that mother nature allows, actually encourages a controlled dehydration in the fruit to concentrate those flavors.
While sugar content is certainly one of the most important aspects of the ripening process (its the raw material yeast use to create the alcohol in the wine) it isn’t thing that impacts the flavor of the finished wine.  Arguably, the second most important factor is the fruits acidity.   This is where its gonna get a little trickier.
There are three main acids present in grapes/wine: tartartic acid, malic acid, and citric acid.  Most people know citric acid very well.  The others not so much.  Following verasion, the malic acid in the fruit starts to naturally break down.  This is a process we actually encourage during the wine-making process to smooth out the taste wine (maloactic fermentation).   Malic acid, which is a very tart tasting acid, degrades into lactic acid (which exists in milk and tastes much much softer).
Anyways, the practical job from here on out to stop the birds from eating everything in site.  Post-veraision, the vineyard starts smelling much more enticing to wildlife and they’ll pick a vine clean.
Hopefully will update again around harvest time.   In the meantime, follow me on twitter @lpvezzett for updates and some behind the scenes pictures.
~LP