You Say Verizon, I Say Veraison?
This time of year, something remarkable is happening in the vineyards that surround my house. It's when the grapes begin to change color - the official term is Veraison, pronounced (Vay-ray-zoN). This exciting time signals that harvest is just a few short weeks away. And it also tells me that my winemaker will soon be pulling his hair out and losing sleep - but that's another story....
Veraison is a viticulture (grape-growing) term meaning "the onset of ripening." The phrase is originally French (isn't everything in wine culture?) but has been adopted into English use. The official definition of Veraison (or at least the one that was on the internet when I Googled the word) is "the change in color of the grape berries." That's a nice definition and all but it really doesn't paint the entire picture.
With the grapes changing color, it means the culmination of almost 9 months of careful vineyard cultivation. You see, to get to this point, we actually started working in the vineyards almost immediately after last year's harvest. There was the pruning and cover cropping in the early winter. Then there was the frost protection and nightly watch as new buds began to grow this past spring. And finally, this summer our vineyard team has been painstakingly working to position shoots, thin leaves and manage the canopy to ensure proper sunlight for the grapes. Plus, they've been closely monitoring to make sure the vines get enough water. Whew, that's a lot of work!
So, with the grapes going through Veraison, you can imagine how excited we all are to see that first load of grapes arrive on our door step soon. In fact, we get so excited that we like to pop a bottle of bubbly and toast the occasion. Yep, just one more excuse to drink champagne! Our winemaking team tells me we are just a couple of short weeks away from our first grapes. Later this week the first of two interns we've hired arrives from South Africa and our Dry Creek family will expand a little more.
So, please join me in raising a glass to toast another great harvest... in this case, our 41st!
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