Veraison is one of the most important parts in the life cycle of a grape
During a February walk with a group of Wine-Knows through a New Zealand vineyard, the winery's owner pointed to his vines and proudly exclaimed, “Veraison has already begun.” I assumed this was a term known to most wine lovers, but I was wrong as there were many perplexed faces among the group. Veraison, a French word that has been adopted by the global wine world, is one of the most important moments in a wine grape’s annual life-cycle.
Veraison (pronounced ver ay son) marks the onset of ripening. It is most noticeable in red varietals as grapes turn from green to red. White grapes, on the other hand, change from green to a golden color and become more translucent. This veraison process typically occurs about 30-70 days before harvest, depending upon the type of grape as well as the weather. As the above photo demonstrates, not all individual grapes go through veraison at the same time….the process can take several days for the entire bunch to turn its final color.
But there is more to veraison than just the grapes changing color. The grape also begins to change from a hard pellet to a softer berry. Inside the berry sugar levels also begin to rise. From veraison to the actual harvest, these sugars will continue to dramatically escalate, while at the same time the grape's acids will correspondingly decline.
Veraison should be coming soon to many vineyards in the northern hemisphere. Raise your glass for a toast…..the 2020 vintage is on it’s way!