Veraison and the Second Crop
Normally in August the vineyard goes through veraison, the development stage when the grapes turn from green to blue. The above photo shows a typical cluster. The process takes about 3 weeks. Our vineyard manager determines when veraison is 85% complete.
At that point, we walk the entire vineyard and cut off every cluster that has not turned fully blue. Our winemaker wants only ripe fruit. Clusters that are not fully blue at 85% veraison will not catch up and therefore will not have the flavor characteristics of the fully blue clusters.
We cut off all the clusters that grow outside the desirable fruit zone. The vine can produce grape clusters anywhere on the cane. The green cluster growing at the top of the vine to the right is an example of this. We only harvest the clusters that grow between the cordon and the lowest training wire. All other clusters are “second crop” and must be dropped.
The vine will use energy attempting to ripen each cluster it produces, including the second crop. We want all of that energy directed to ripening only the fruit that will be harvested.
In the accompanying photo, notice the small green cluster growing well above the blue clusters in the fruit zone. That is a second crop cluster that was cut off after the photo was taken.