Véraison at Jester Hill!

What exactly is Véraison?

Véraison is a French term referring to the colour change that happens as a grape is ripening and signifies the change from berry growth to berry ripening in grapevines. At véraison the berries become soft and take on the colours characteristic of their specific variety. 

But there’s more to véraison than just the grapes changing colour. Another characteristic we use to measure whether or not the process is complete is berry hardness. Up until now, the berries are very firm. Once they get through véraison, the berries are pliable and can be deformed when squeezed between the thumb and index finger.

This elasticity is one of the only ways to observe véraison in white wine grapes. It’s a little easier to spot in red wine grapes that undergo a very obvious change. The berries are green — just like their white wine counterparts — but now start to change to purple. White grapes, on the other hand, have an observable change in colour, albeit not as pronounced as in red wine grapes, changing from green to a golden colour.

This is the time when growers thin the fruit. Unripe bunches (or bunches that have not begun to véraison) are pulled off the vine to give the more promising fruit more room to mature. This also means that the fruit that is left will come to maturity at roughly the same time, making the harvest more simple and successful.

From the beginning of véraison to harvest, the berries will increase in volume, weight, and sugar content (brix or baume). We also check that the grape seeds changing from green to brown also indicating ripeness. A lot is known about véraison but what triggers the process remains a mystery. 

It is good, perhaps, there is still mystery and mystique in bringing wine to the table.

Update From Mick the Winemaker

2020 was a 'look after the vines and forgo the crop' philosophy. In doing so we have created some really interesting 2021 wines.

2021 gave us water, water and even more water so the job at hand was keeping the vines and grapes as healthy as possible getting ready for harvest. Yes we have started! Watch this space for our progress on the 2022 harvest.

Some late frosts did slow progress up for a while and the inconsistent weather patterns have slowed ripening but we are getting there. Verdelho and Sauvignon Blanc have been picked, with Chardonnay coming in on Sunday. Watch this space for an update on Vintage 2022 :)