In Virzì it is time for veraison.
For some days we have been observing the color change in the Syrah grapes.
It is a very important signal that tells us that the path that will lead to the ripening of the grapes has begun.
We were a bit worried about the great heat that had stopped the vines, then restarted thanks to the arrival of some cooler days.
When the temperature reaches particularly high values, the plants block their progression in the vegetative cycle because at that moment their priority becomes survival.
Veraison is the phase during which the color change begins in the epicarp, the external part of the fruit, what we commonly call the skin.
In grapes this process can be observed particularly well since it does not affect all the grapes in the bunch at the same time and therefore gives us the opportunity to compare the different intensities of color: they range from still very light colors to decidedly dark grains. In the initial phase, the color of the grapes is very light green and is mainly determined by chlorophyll.
With veraison in the red grape varieties the progressive accumulation of anthocyanins in the skin occurs with the consequent turning towards purplish red, while in the white grape varieties the transition to the yellow color is due to the accumulation of carotenoids and flavonoids.
It is important to remember that in the skin there are the substances that give the wine not only its color, but also its aromas. In our vineyards the veraison began in mid-July, in line with last year’s times.
The Syrah and Chardonnay vines were the first to start, followed after a few days by those of the other varieties.
From veraison to ripening usually 30-35 days pass for the red vines, a little less for the white vines.
The variability, however, does not only concern the type of grape, but also the weather conditions which in recent years are becoming more and more extreme. In 2000, for example, there was an intense heat wave with five days of sirocco and temperatures above 40 ° C: everything was very fast.
The climate is changing, we realize this more and more.
Beyond the rise in temperatures, the thing that strikes us most is the violence, speed and unpredictability of weather events.
Sudden thunderstorms with pouring rain, intense heat waves and disturbances of considerable intensity occur with a frequency that is constantly increasing.
The climatic trend in the various seasons today is difficult to frame, every year we record something different.
We go towards extreme conditions that are reflected on the cycle of plants, sometimes resulting in anomalous situations.
In this regard, we remind you that in 2014 the Nero d’Avola from a vineyard facing south was harvested before a Chardonnay facing north. It is an absolutely singular fact, considering that Chardonnay is normally harvested 20 days earlier. In this case, the different exposure is by no means sufficient to justify what happened.
Many people now ask us: “How does the harvest look like?“, or “When will you start harvesting grapes?“.
These are the same questions we ask ourselves every day, continuously observing the vineyards.
Doubts are always many. Soon we will start taking grape samples to carefully evaluate the situation.
For now, things are going well, in the hope that everything will go smoothly and that the harvest will give us healthy grapes to be able to produce the wines we want. It is a constant challenge, but it is also our job, it is what we do trying to give our best every day and in every situation.