August 31st, 2010

Veraison, is the term used to describe the transition from berry growth to the onset of ripening in the vineyard. Acidity in the berries begins to decrease as volume and sugar concentration levels increase and fruity aromas become increasingly apparent, unfortunately attracting insects and birds! The much anticipated moment of Veraison seems to occur suddenly in selective berries and bunches during the warm dry late summer weather. It can be seen visually, scattered across the vineyard, as individual grape berries and then whole bunches begin to change colour, most obviously in the Pinot varieties, which change from green, through various shades of red to ultimately the rich deep purple colour so characteristic of Pinot Noir. At the same time, the previously firm berries begin to soften to the touch.

Thus far during this years growing season, we have concentrated our efforts on sound canopy management, creating a meter high strong, clean and healthy wall of leaves which act as a solar panel to capture the warm rays of the summer sun, enabling optimum photosynthesis. Now our attention has shifted to the lower canopy area around the grapes, where thinning of both canopy and bunches ensures a crop that is both disease free and in balance and harmony with the canopy area above, during this new phase of ripening. Daily, from each row can be heard the gentle ripping of leaves as the canopy is thinned, punctuated with exclamations of delight as particular heavy crop areas are revealed, or groans and expletives as the occasional bunch comes away with a leaf. This is summer in the vineyard, at its gentlest and finest. Now we cross our fingers and hope for that perfect dry and warm September.

Pinot Noir in Veraison

Pinot Meunier in Veraison

And another surprise and delight while thinning around the grapes, we discovered that the local birds approve of the environment in our canopy!

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