In the world of winemaking there are a number of terms and processes that may seem unfamiliar to the average wine drinker. One such term is “Veraison.” But what exactly does Veraison mean when it comes to wine and grapes?
Expanding your knowledge and understanding of all things wine will help you become better at choosing wines and finding wine that you may like.
In this article we’ll dive into the concept of Veraison and explore its significance, stages, and impact on the world of wine.
What is Veraison?
Veraison is a critical stage in the life cycle of wine grapes. It is a French term that translates to “the onset of ripening.” Veraison is the transition from the growth phase to the ripening phase of grape development. This moment is characterized by several noticeable changes in the grapevine, which have an impact on the quality and characteristics of the grapes and, consequently, the wine they produce.
Timing and Triggers
Veraison typically occurs in late summer, but the exact time frame can vary depending on the grape variety, climate, and region. It is triggered by a combination of factors, including temperature, daylight hours, and genetic factors. As the grapes prepare for ripening, they undergo a series of transformations that are closely monitored by grape growers and winemakers.
The Stages of Veraison
One of the most obvious, visual changes during Veraison is the transformation of the grape color. Red grape varieties will change from green to red or purple, while white grape varieties will shift from green to a more translucent yellow or golden color. This change in color is due to the accumulation of pigments such as anthocyanins in red grapes and carotenoids in white grapes.
Softening of the Berries
As the color is changing in the fruit, the texture of grape berries undergoes a significant alteration as well. The grapes become softer, with the flesh inside becoming juicier and more pliable. This change is essential as it indicates that the grapes are entering their optimal stage for winemaking.
Another crucial aspect of Veraison is the accumulation of sugars in the grapes. As the grapes ripen, they begin to store higher levels of glucose and fructose, which are the primary sugars used for fermentation. This sugar increase is important in determining the potential alcohol content of the wine.
In addition to the above, acidity levels in the grapes start to decrease during Veraison. This reduction in acidity is essential for creating a balanced flavor profile in the wine. High acidity can result in a tart or sour wine, while too little acidity can lead to a flat and uninteresting taste.
The Significance of Veraison
Veraison is a critical period for winemakers as it directly influences the quality of the wine. The timing of Veraison can significantly impact the final flavor, aroma, and overall structure of the wine. Grapes that undergo Veraison more evenly tend to produce wines with greater complexity and depth.
Veraison serves as a clear indicator that harvest season is approaching. Winemakers carefully monitor this stage to determine the optimal time to pick the grapes. Harvesting too early or too late can result in wines that lack balance or have undesirable characteristics.
Veraison in Wine Grapes
In the world of wine and grapes, Veraison represents an important moment of transformatio. It is the point at which grapes transition from being simple fruits on the vine to potential ingredients of complex flavors and aromas. Understanding Veraison is crucial for both grape growers and winemakers, as it plays a fundamental role in shaping the character of the final wine.
Knowing what veraison is will help you better understand what a winemaker looks for when harvesting grapes to be made into wine. Without this process winemakers would be less likely to harvest grapes at the right time achieve the desired flavor profiles in their wines.