Friday, August 26, 2011


French word for the first color in grapes, meaning the beginning of the phase where the grapes turn from hard and green, to either purple or yellow and juicy-sweet.

I believe it's pronounced something like "vuh-ray-ZOhn" (nasal o), and the inclusion of a sound similar to "raisin" is not coincidental: "raisin" is French for "grape" and "venir" beans "to become," so "veraison" might derive from "to become a grape." In the US many folks just pronounce it like the phone company:

You know that grapes are VERY late this year, after a long, cool Spring. Ken Wright's Guadalupe Vineyard just reported its first veraison (first out of all their grapes), on Aug 26. I don't see any veraison in my vineyard yet.

In 2009 (a reasonably normal year), Willakenzie had veraison first on Aug 4. So from that standpoint we are at least 3 weeks behind, and likely more like 4 or 5 weeks behind (because most Oregon PN grapes won't reach veraison for another ten days or so).

Harvest for Pinot noir, one of the earliest-ripening vinifera, is usually about 38 days after veraison, so perhaps this year a fully-ripe harvest would be on about October 15 (that allows ten more days for most of the grapes here to reach veraison). Unfortunately, it almost always rains earlier than that, here. So the ripeness levels here in 2011 will almost entirely depend on the date of the rains' return, and to a lesser extent on the amount of heat and light we get.

I expect area growers will be dropping a lot of crop now, in order to maximize the prospects of getting ripe fruit. The eternal quality-quantity struggle.

Cross your fingers!

All above data taken from this Southern Oregon Univ. article, and from the Ken Wright blog:

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