Veraison Underway in Napa Valley
July 11, 2016
NAPA, CA (July 11, 2016) – According to the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG), veraison, an annual benchmark in the winegrape growing season, is officially underway. Known as the onset of ripening, veraison marks the colorful transition from grape growth to grape ripening, resulting in several changes in fruit development. They not only change color, but they begin to increase in weight and volume as well.
“I’m seeing veraison as just slightly behind last year. You can find berries turning here and there, but I expect it to really move along with the forecasted heat this week. It appears to be a pretty good crop in most places – there’s definitely some blocks that are lighter, but in general there looks to be a good number of clusters and the berries are sizing nicely,” said PJ Alviso, Director of Estate Viticulture at Duckhorn Wine Company and NVG member.
Most dramatically, red winegrapes slowly turn from green to red and purple while white winegrapes change from green to a golden yellow, becoming more translucent. This process occurs over a lengthy period of time and each grape variety ripens at a different rate.
With harvest typically occurring 60-75 days from 50% veraison, growers anticipate that the 2016 harvest could begin as early as mid-August. “I think we’ll see some early blocks getting picked in the second week of August, but I expect full-on harvest to start towards the last week of August and the first week of September. Hotter or cooler weather could, of course, push that either way,” said Alviso.
Matt Reid, winemaker at Benessere Vineyards and NVG member added, “I would say that the 2016 growing season will be early once again and may be bigger than 2015, if not as large as 2014. We anticipate having all of our fruit in earlier than either of those years.
During this time of year, other activities are taking place in the vineyard as well. Vine growth is robust and grape growers are actively caring for leaf canopies to prevent sunburn and managing the vineyard floor to minimize weeds, vineyard pests, and hold on to the remaining moisture that exists in the soil profile.
“The most poignant characteristic of this growing season to me is the amount of vine vigor, especially versus the previous (drier) years. The vines have grown really big canopies, which bodes well for sun protection and ripening power,” Alviso said.
Kendall Hoxsey – Onysko, Business Manager with the Napa Wine Company and Yount Mill Vineyards and NVG member concurred. “It has been great weather lately and we hope it continues. The growing season has been good thus far and we are pleased with what we’re seeing out in the vineyards.”
While there are still several weeks ahead until harvest, it appears to be shaping up to be another excellent vintage for 2016.
For more information, please visit www.napagrowers.org or phone (707) 944-8311.
About Napa Valley Grapegrowers
NVG is a non-profit trade organization that has played a vital role in strengthening Napa Valley's reputation as a world-class viticultural region for 41 years. Its mission is to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards. NVG represents over 690 Napa County grapegrowers and associated businesses.