A slightly dorky education Wednesday, but a good word to know since it’s what was just happening in many Northern Hemisphere vineyards! Veraison (pronounced, veh-ray-zuhn) marks the stage in vine ripening when the grapes go from little, hard green berries to softer, colored grapes. A few things happen in this process:
First, the sugar and acid ratio switches. When the little berries begin, the acid content is much higher than sugar. During verasion, the sugar content increases and acid decreases, making the berries softer and plumper, looking more like actual grapes.
Second, the color changes. Till now, the grapes looked like little green peas. Verasion takes them from this stage to actual grape stage. For white varieties, this means that they become a softer, transparent yellow-green color. For red varieties, it’s more obvious, taking the grape from bright green to red or purple.
Veraison is quick for the particular berry, lasting only about a week, but it can be sporadic from berry to berry and vine to vine. It usually occurs in the summer time, anywhere from early July to mid-August. From this point on, the berry just keep ripening to become the perfect grape for your future wine!