In simplest form, and for our purposes here, it means the onset of color change in wine grapes. For a red wine grape, this is the turn from green to red. It is essentially the beginning of the “ripening” season, the transition from allocating resources to the whole of the vine, to focusing on the grape itself. Sugars begin to increase, the acid balance changes, the skin softens, the seeds brown. In short, it is the beginning of wine.
It is a VERY exciting time for a grower of grapes. Veraison takes place over a course of many days and weeks, and it is a process watched extremely closely by all concerned.
The HOW of how Veraison arrives is an extremely important barometer for the ensuing shape of any given growing season; uneven can be challenging, and depending on the microclimate(s) of any given vineyard, late can be fatal.
For all these reasons and more, I am VERY happy to declare that, here on our beloved mountain, Veraison has arrived!
(Thanks as always to our intrepid Monte Bello viticulturist Kyle Theriot, for providing such wonderful images!)