The grapes in our vineyards are at a particularly important, and beautiful, stage of their development right now.
Having completed the growth stage, the grapes now have entered their ripening phase, a period known as veraison. Veraison (ver-AY-zon) is a French term referring to the change of color of the grape berries. Red grapes turn from green to red, while white grapes become more translucent. This phase, which typically occurs 30 to 60 days before harvest, is a period of dramatic change for the vines. The chlorophyll that produces the green color in young grapes is replaced by anthocyanins and other polyphenols in red grapes and carotenoids in white grapes, along with sugars and other nutritional compounds. The grapes grow dramatically in size, and acidity is reduced while the sugars increase. Much of the art of the grower and winemaker is now knowing when to pick so that the sugars and acids are in perfect balance to make fine wine.
McEvoy Ranch is located in the Petaluma Gap growing region, or AVA (American Viticultural Area), a particularly cool growing area. It's cool enough here that, while other growing regions like Napa Valley and Lake County have already started picking grapes, our grapes are still completing veraison. That's a reason why we grow grape varieties like Pinot Noir and Syrah which do well in cooler climates.
Besides being such a critical milestone in the growth of wine grapes, veraison is also a phenomenally beautiful time in the vineyards. The grape bunches are a mosaic of color, from light green to deep purple, peeking out from below the canopy of leaves. Make a point to visit us at this lovely time of year; you can schedule a visit from Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 to 4:30, here. But hurry! Veraison will soon be over, and before we know it we'll be harvesting and crushing another vintage of McEvoy Ranch wines.