The Northern Grapevine

What is Veraison?

Veraison (ver-ray’-zohn) is a viticulture term, originally French, meaning the onset of grapes ripening in a vineyard.

At Victory View Vineyard veraison typically begins in late July. The exact date that you can see the grapes, or berries, start to ripen and change color varies each growing season. Different varieties start veraison at different times. Within the same variety, the grapes change color depending on their location in the vineyard.

marquette wine grapes veraison at Victory View Vineyard

Before veraison, the shape of the clusters, the size of the clusters and how compact or loose the grapes appear in the clusters are different, but all the grapes in the vineyard look basically the same, like hard green marbles. When veraison begins, ripening begins. Most visibly, the grapes start to change color.

Our red varieties – marquette, maréchal foch, frontenac – are the easiest to spot. The preveraison, green grapes gradually turn pink, red and purple. Our whites – la crescent, lacross, and melody – begin to turn an amber hue and become more translucent as they ripen.

During veraison grapes gradually become less firm and the sugar content begins to increase rapidly. Those hard green marble-like berries turn pliable and juicy by the end of August. That’s when we stride through the vineyard randomly collecting berries to start testing the sugar and acid content in eager preparation for harvest.