The wait for veraison was a little under three weeks, but we got there! With veraison beginning we’ve entered the final phase of grape growth out in the vineyards. While all we can see is a gradual change in the color of the grapes, what’s going on inside of them is really a flurry of activity.
Prior to veraison the grapes accumulate acids and tannins (the sorts of things we find rather tasty in wine) and remain green in order to dissuade birds and other animals from eating the grapes before the seeds are ready for dispersal. Veraison is the point at which the vine says “Alrighty, time to get these seeds out of here,” and begins to metabolize the acids and build-up sugars, as well as change color, in order to encourage the consumption of the berries and facilitate seed dispersal. So what we see as the onset of ripening is actually the vine’s attempt to begin reproduction.
It is at this point in the life cycle of grapes that all the tiny variables of climate and weather really begin to make their impact felt. For instance, in warmer climates and in warmer years, mallic acid content is typically lower, while in cooler climates and years mallic acid content is usually higher. The specifics are far, far too complicated to go into here, but ultimately this when the character of the wine grape really begins to take shape. In other words: this is the end of the beginning of the 2018 season.