What is Veraison?
Taken from the French, veraison is the change of color of grapes. It is a signal that the plant and its berries are putting their energies into ripening the berries instead of berry
The unripe grapes, all a bright green color, begin to turn either pale yellow or dark blue/purple in the case of “red” wine grapes. This is a photograph of Johnson Estate's Pinot Noir grapes which have started but not completed veraison. At this stage, the vines have begun to transport energy stores to the grapes and they increase in size as sugar levels increase.
Birds Looking for Early Ripening Grapes
In western New York and Pennsylvania, where 30,000 acres of vineyards are found along Lake Erie, the end of September is known for the aroma of ripening grapes and the commencement of the region's harvest of Concords. When this begins to happen, it is a signal that the grapes are becoming sweeter. The majority of the region's vineyards are Concord grapes which tend to ripen later than some wine varieties. As a result, the early-ripening wine varieties, like Johnson Estate's Maréchal Foch and Pinot Noir need to be protected from birds whose choices are fewer at the beginning of the season.
At Johnson Estate, these two early-ripening grape varieties are protected from hungry birds through the use of ballons, kevlar streamers, and periodic cannon shots. In addition, there is a recording of a hawk attacking a starling and all of these efforts help to diminish the birds' interest in these first-ripening grapes.
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Fred Johnson, Owner
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