Each year, vineyard managers in Napa Valley and around the world monitor each stage of development that will determine the successful maturation of their grape crop. Depending on the weather, elevation, soil type, and even the grape variety, the various stages may begin at different times.
Following the winter dormancy and pruning of the vines, the vineyards begin to experience “budbreak” as the warming temperatures begin to show the first signs of life. The branches start to develop newly emerging shoots that will grow as the weeks pass.
After the clusters have had a chance to develop by early summer, the new grapes undergo their next dramatic and important stage: Veraison.
Onset of Veraison
The word “veraison” comes from the French language, a term that denotes change or transformation.
As the new grapes mature, they absorb more energy and gradually develop a higher sugar content as the color change occurs. With red cultivars like Napa Valley’s best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, veraison is a dramatic change, while the transformation of white varieties is more subtle.
Other changes take place. While the color of the grapes changes rapidly, other changes are occurring in the vines. The sugar levels and flavor compounds are also evolving for several weeks as the fruit matures and the organic acids decrease. Plant growth begins to slow while the pliable green shoots that had supported the clusters so far start to harden into “woody,” more brittle stems.
The maturation continues until the fall harvest. From this point, the expert vineyard managers are primarily dependent upon weather conditions, expertise, and damage-mitigating practices to minimize any negative impacts to ensure they continue to produce the Napa Valley wine quality for which they are famous.
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A producer of award-winning best Cabernet Sauvignon and other varietals, Yountville-based Bell Wine Cellars has developed a reputation throughout Napa Valley Wine Country and the world for their extraordinary efforts in vineyard and wine cellar management to produce the best Cabernet Sauvignon and many other varietals.
“Graceful wines backed by superb hospitality” greets every visitor who comes to Bell Wine Cellars to learn more about the superior quality of the excellent wines and winery operations.
Schedule a wine tasting to sample some of the many great wines and learn more about Bell Wine Cellars’ Passion for Quality.