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Veraison: when grapes change colour

The grapevines in a vineyard have a typical growth cycle, each stage showing its own, peculiar, characteristics. Today, we will describe what is known as ‘veraison’, a French word used to describe the colour change of wine grapes, as they transition each summer from green to purple or pale yellow.

Actually, veraison marks the onset of ripening, whose duration depends on the grape variety, the weather and the vintage. The season when grape bunches lose their green is always the same: summer. In the warm months (July-August in the Northern hemisphere), the vineyard, like an invisible painter, displays a palette of bright shades from green or yellow (for white grapes) to purplish red, purple or dark red (for red grapes).

During veraison, the grapes stop growing to start ripening, which means sugar levels increase and acidity begins to decrease. Wine growers estimate that they should wait 35 to 55 days, depending on the grape variety, to pick the berries after they start changing colours.

Grape ripening can start at different moments for different grape varieties and climates. The veraison of Garnacha grapes, for instance, progresses more slowly than for other varieties.

Nowadays, wine growers control a number of factors, like the levels of sugars and acids, to decide on the ideal time for harvesting. In the past, they tasted the grapes every day to check sweetness and acidity levels.

Technology and innovation notwithstanding, veraison is still a very special, almost magical, stage in winegrowing. Vineyards show their most beautiful colour combinations, which announce the much-anticipated grape harvesting season.

Reader Interactions


  1. Me encanta el paisaje con el envero…
    Este verano hemos estado en la zona de Utiel Requena, descubriendo sus fantásticos vinos, y lo hemos vivido en primera persona. ¡Espectacular!

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