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Corley Family Napa Valley

Chris Corley
July 27, 2008 | Farming | Chris Corley

Turning Colors

Veraison ! Right now is an exciting time in the vineyard. Some of the grapes are going through that magical metmorphosis called veraison, when the berries begin to soften up and change colors. The white grapes transform from tart, bright green pellets into soft luscious golden grapes and the red grapes drift through every shade imaginable between lime green and deep purple. It is really amazing to watch. When I figure out how to post pictures on the blog, I'll be sure to include a picture of a cluster mid-veraison.

As different varietals all have their own timelines, they go through veraison at different times. As of today, our Pinot Noir is about 40-50% through, the Chardonnay about 50-60% through and the Syrah roughly 10-15% through. For me, putting a percentage on veraison is really a peripheral observation, made mostly by walking through the blocks and taking a broadview of the clusters and getting a sens of about how many berries on the cluster have turned color. A little easier to see with the red grapes. With the whites, it takes a little squeezing to see if the cluster is softening up.

Today we were removing leafs and pulling excess shoots to expose the fruit to more clusters. Just like mowing your lawn, you can smell the vegetation as it gets cut from the vine - in this case, like fresh cut grass and bell peppers.

The vibe picks up when the berries start turning color, and the guys in the field and in the cellar are definitely buzzin' with harvest around the corner ...


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