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Véraison in the Valley

Jul. 30, 2013

Véraison is officially underway here in the Walla Walla Valley!veraison

Unsure of what that means? The word is French and means "the onset of ripening." The fruit becomes soft and its colors change,  the acidity decreases, and sugars increase. Cell division and expansion decreases - the first stage of growth is when the berry accumulates the majority of its size, from here on out the berries start developing the characteristics we attribute to "ripe" fruit. The photo you see here is the same cluster of grapes photographed a mere 48 hours apart. Pretty crazy, right?!

Due to the differences in temperature and precipitation across the Valley, our Seven Hills Vineyard is always the first site in the area to experience the transition from green grapes to purple, which then moves to Pepper Bridge Vineyard, and lastly with Les Collines Vineyard. Within each vineyard, the onset of véraison is more varietal specific than it is location specific, and it occurs as follows:
  1.      Sangiovese
  2.      Mouvèdre
  3.      Carménère
  4.      Syrah
  5.      Malbec
  6.      Merlot
  7.      Cabernet Franc
  8.      Cabernet Sauvignon
  9.      Grenache
As you might imagine, it is a lot tougher to gauge véraison in white varietals as their color "change" remains relatively...well...unchanged.

Regardless of the order of ripening, the order of harvesting the fruit is something entirely different - we'll save that for another time! If you'd like any further information, view the Seven Hills Vineyard website at or e-mail Seven Hills Vineyard's Viticulturist, Sadie Drury, at with specific questions.

Cheers until next time, friends!