I had been expecting the summer in the vineyard since early beginning of the year. This was the first time when I had been watching berries ripening for almost 10 weeks in a row with a small holiday break. There were lots of good impressions and lots of amazing colours during last two months. Mother Nature knows exactly how to soften a human’s heart. Probably that’s why she created veraison ;)
The beginning of my rainbow adventure has been at the late June, when I have chosen a vine and have been watching it every second – third day. At the beginning all the berries were more or less the same size and all they were green coloured.
The weather was changeable – few days of rain, then few hot days with burning sun, then again rain, and then sun over and over again. The winegrowers had to be careful, because the mild and wet conditions are the best ones for developing the grey mold. Luckily this year was poor in hail, so the nightmares of last year’s hail massacre didn’t return. The vine was very susceptible for the weather – berries seemed to die down during rainy days and they were coming to life when it was sunny.
At the beginning of August I discovered the change in the green colour of the grapes. Some of the berries started to be a bit pinky so I decided to take the pictures of bunches to see how they change their colours.
I was very surprised, because the difference of the berries colours could be seen from day to day!
The point at which grapes start to ripen is called veraison; it is a time when berries transform inside and present the big range of colours, changing –literally- every day. My personal name for the veraison is ‘the beauty of the rainbow spherules’ and I like to call it this way ;)
In the Northern Hemisphere the whole berry ripening process takes place from July to September, but the best time to watch berries changing colours is, in my opinion, in August. In the Southern Hemisphere the process takes place in February/March. White grape varieties are not as spectacular as black ones, because they change colours from green into gold and yellow.
At the moment there is a lot of going on inside the berries – grape sugar levels rise, acid levels drop and in addition the grape skin develops its full range of flavous, colours and tannins. All the vine needs is sun and warmth so the berries can develop fully. Harvest is approaching and we need to cross our fingers for the weather. It is said that here in Bordeaux the harvest of the whites starts in 3-4 days.
The merlot vineyards that I have been observing for last two months are located in Saint Magne de Castillon on a small south facing limestone slope (the altitude is about 100 meters). Unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures every day because of my holidays (but it doesn’t mean I was unhappy with the holiday break :p), but my friend G. went to see the vineyards few times with his phone and took some pictures for me. Thanks!
Below you will find more pictures, each with a taken date, which shows the veraison in 2014 of a bunch of grapes.
Watching the colourful spherules is addictive. What a pity I have to wait another year to watch the veraison again… Can’t wait!
Do you like veraison? What in the process do you like the most?