I had the privilege of sitting down and speaking with one of the owners, Chuck Zaleski, to discuss the wonder that is "veraison."
Now you may be thinking, "what, in the world of wine, is veraison?!" Well, I'll tell you! Veraison is the transitioning of the grape to the ripened version that will eventually be harvested and used to make the wine you taste here at Fero.
The best way to actually see this in action is to watch the red grapes, like Lemberger, Pinot Noir and Saperavi go from a crisp, bright green color to a rich and velvety purple/red color. Although its easiest to see take place in the red grape varieties, you can also see this change in our white grapes. The white grapes like the Pinot Gris, Grüner Veltliner or Riesling will go from a vivid green to a soft, warm amber! The prettiest of the grape varieties to watch during veraison, is the Lemberger grape. The skins prior to this process are hard and a little translucent while in the middle the seeds are still developing. During veraison the berries will get bigger, become sweeter, less acidic and less bitter. The skins of the grape will also become thinner and softer while the seeds become darker. The pictures below are from Fero Vineyards & Winery taken the week of August 1, 2016 by Sara Snyder. The grapes you are seeing in the photographs are the Lemberger and Pinot Noir grapes. Can you guess which picture is which grape? Comment below!
The timing on when veraison occurs can vary on the climate. Climate plays a role in when veraison starts and how it continues. This years weather has been very good. All the things we look for in a growing season has happened in the dry, sunny and warm weather we have been graced with. In the central PA area, you can begin to see this change take place in early August and although they may sound delicious, you will want to wait a little longer to steal a grape, from the vines, to taste!
While we wait to harvest these grapes we encourage their continued growth and protect them from pests, disease and other problems. As the grapes get sweeter and are more enticing to us, they also become more tempting to deer and birds. To protect the grapes we use various methods including netting to keep them away from stealing these precious gems. We will have to wait about 40 days from the start of veraison to actually begin harvesting.
Harvesting is a whole other topic which we will touch on in the coming months but for now, we are in the home stretch and we wait. Check out the pictures we took from this years grapes and stop in to taste the final product!