Would you like to understand what happens to the vines as they come into the final stretch of their growth, just before they are harvested? Vineyards don’t go on holidays during the summer, in fact, they do the complete opposite. Their grapes undergo a series of fundamental changes which allow them to reach their full ripening. We can call this stage some sort of a “final sprint”. Here, at Familia Martínez Bujanda, we want to unveil all these secrets which make any visit to our vineyards in this time of the year a truly unforgettable experience.
Did you know that vines finish their cycles in this season of the year? Since spring, their grapes have been working to grow healthily and pick up all the necessary nutrients from the soil, as well as profiting from all the water, heat and sunshine hours provided during these months. By the end of it, the vine has sprouted, blossomed, and put its leaves to work in order to bring out its best. We have been helping them in each of these steps, but now comes the last stage before harvesting, which counts with three phases: fruition, colour-changing (“envero”) and ripening.
During the first one of these phases, the fruition or fruit setting, the flowers start to become fruits. Both white and red grapes are green at this point, and they are small and very hard. Very slowly, they grow day after day using the summer heat, which is extremely important at this stage. As we always look for the best quality in the final fruits that we will use for the wine, at this point we can start the process known as green pruning or thinning. This procedure leaves only the best bunches of grapes in the vines and maintains a good balance between fruits and leaves. The remaining bunches will be the only ones receiving nutrients and using sunlight, heat, and water, which will be used to concentrate their aromas and produce better quality grapes.
The following phase, known as colour-changing or “envero”, lasts for the whole summer, and is one of the most impressive phases which happen at the vineyard. During it, the grapes start to grow at a faster rate and fill up with water. As if by magic, they also start to change colour – red grapes become red and then purple, whereas white grapes come to be translucent and with beautiful golden colours. Not all grapes change colour at the same time, which is what makes this moment so special, and why visiting the vineyard when it is wearing this extraordinary colour palette is absolutely impressive. These are key moments where we must take great care of the vineyard, continue the thinning of green bunches, and monitor the grapes’ health, as the ripening process has already begun.
In fact, the ripening process can be considered the prelude to the harvest, and, depending on the grape variety, it can happen both before and after it is harvested. Some grapes mature quicker while others take a bit more time. However, all grapes grow every day that goes by, as does their sugar level, whereas their acidity decreases. With time, grapes develop tannins, aromas and other compounds that give the grape its excellent quality. This is the last phase of winegrowing; therefore, it is important to avoid excess water accumulation by helping the grapes use the water reserves they have been collecting to finish the maturation process. This stage lasts from August until October, but out winemakers are very vigilant to start harvesting just at the time of ripening.
We encourage you to visit our estates this summer, where you will be able to witness the vineyards in all their splendour. Arrange an appointment now and take part in out enotourism plans at Finca Valpiedra, Finca Antigua and Finca Montepedroso.