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Eric Johnson, Winemaker
 
August 2, 2013 | Eric Johnson, Winemaker

A Splash of Color

About the time when colorful fireworks are hitting the sky to celebrate our nation’s independence a different kind of colorful fireworks is occurring out in the vineyard. What I’m talking about is the arrival of color to the grape clusters which is most commonly referred to as veraison.  Veraison literally means “the onset of color” in French and the term symbolizes the transition from berry growth to berry ripening.

We have several vineyards at Talley with different terriors and most of the vineyards start and finish veraison at different times. Typically the first blocks that start veraison will be the first grapes harvested but that is not always the case. At this time of the year we are in the thick of it when it comes to veraison. We have some blocks that are finished and some that have just started. Pinot noir is are first varietal to get going and syrah is our last. Below I have photos of our three main vineyards to demonstrate the timing and characteristics of veraison.

Stone Corral Pinot Noir: As you can see Stone Corral is about 50-60% through veraison.  Veraison takes place one berry at a time making the clusters look similar to fireworks. Stone Corral Pinot Noir is typically one of the last vineyards we harvest.
 
West Rincon Pinot Noir: As you can see the West Rincon vineyard is about 85-90% through veraison.  Some clusters are completely colored up and other are a little pink. You even see some green berries still present. We typically have a couple of early ripening blocks followed by a waiting period before we pick the remaining.
 
Rosemary’s Pinot Noir: You can clearly see that this block of pinot noir in Rosemary’s is completely through veraison. All clusters have colored up and it will be a matter of weeks before we pick this block. This particular block in Rosemary’s is almost always our first block harvested.

 

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