It’s the end of August, which is an exciting time in our wine region. Why may you ask? Because this is around the time we start seeing magic happen in the vineyards – we’re talking about veraison!
So what exactly is veraison? This French viticulture term represents the beginning of the ripening process in wine grapes. This is when the vines switch focus from putting energy into vegetative growth (growing leaves and shoots) into ripening the fruit. It is the transition period that occurs when the grapes start to change colors and sweeten. As the grape clusters continue to ripen, the acidity levels begin to decrease while sugar levels (also known as “Brix”) increase.
Once veraison begins, it can take anywhere from 30-70 days for the grapes to become fully ripe and ready for harvest. In our vineyards on Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas, we are starting to see the first signs of ripening in some of the grapes, like Pinot Noir.
Although not the very first of our grapes to ripen, Pinot Noir is known to be one of the varieties that ripen early and unevenly. As you may notice from the photos, there can be clusters with ripened berries mixed with berries that haven’t even begun veraison and are still green!
Interested in learning more about our vineyards and seeing veraison up close and personal? Check out our Estate & Wine Tours hosted at our Suttons Bay location. Public and private tours are available summer through fall.