August 03, 2009 Veraison is upon us!
Right on schedule, purple berries have been spotted in our Sangiovese and Merlot blocks. Chardonnay and Viognier grapes are also beginning to ripen, turning from firm and green to soft, translucent and golden. Our crop is not heavy this year, although we do have more fruit than in 2008, which was the lightest year in our history. Vines appeared to be carrying a large crop when our new clusters first appeared this spring. However, as the grape flowers bloomed, many berries did not “set” (become pollinated), resulting in loose clusters with plenty of access for sunlight and air – ideal conditions for ripening concentrated, flavorful fruit. As can be seen in the photo, berry size is small, with the Merlot grapes pictured in this cluster bearing a stronger resemblance to the small berried Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Since most wine flavor precursors are found in our grapes’ skins, rather than the juice of the berry, this is an excellent sign for the quality to come. The timing of harvest at the moment appears to be typical, and we anticipate picking our white grapes in mid-September, with the red varieties reaching maturity in October and through mid-November. But, nature is always unpredictable, and we are sure to have a few surprises before this year’s vintage is put to bed.
- Sally Johnson, winemaker