All grape varieties begin their yearly journey green in color. It’s not until mid-summer that red or white grapes reveal their identity to the untrained eye. This period of grape pigment development is called “veraison,” and just like bud break, occurs over a long period of time, depending on the grape variety and the micro-environment of a particular vineyard site.
This is it. Half a year of getting to know each and every vine culminates in a magical moment when vineyard workers pick their grapes, mostly by hand and often at night. “Brix” – or sugar levels – are measured. Grapes are tasted and then tested for the maturity of a kaleidoscope of phenolic compounds, which add layers of flavor, color and texture.
Winemakers employ some of the latest technology in their pursuit of making the finest wine in the world. Stainless-steel machines await the arrival of the grapes from the vineyard. Next, grapes for red wines enter the de-stemmer and come out the other side as individual berries. Some wineries employ the use of an optical sorter at this point This new technology sets tight specifications into a computer-controlled monitor to only allow fruit with particular qualities to make it through. Grapes are then gently crushed and sent to the appropriate vessel to ferment on their skins. White wine grapes are placed into a press that gently squeezes the whole bunch to release its juice, which is then transferred to a fermentation vessel without the grape skins.