The grapes in our Livermore Valley and Arroyo Seco vineyards have been soaking in the warm summer days and are just now beginning to transition from tart leafy-green berries to purple berries or plump light green. This yearly phenomenon is called veraison, a French viticulture term for the change of color of the grapes. Veraison marks an important milestone in our grapes growth cycle.It is an exciting time for the Wente Vineyards winemaking and viticulture team because it sets the stage for the harvest ahead and helps our winegrowers predict the harvest timeline for the season.
Will it be an early harvest, or will it be a late one?
According to Sr Viticulture Manager Niki Wente, it's shaping up to be a remarkably similar year to 2019. As a reminder, 2019 harvest was mild overall. That vintage, our team was especially excited about the quality of our white wines, which show bold flavors, fresh acidity and nice aromatics in Livermore Valley. In Arroyo Seco, where it was a cooler growing season the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay also showed great acidity and fruit development.
The 2021 growing season has provided dry, cool growing conditions with only two extreme heat events, which has led to prolonged fruit development. “We anticipate the crop to be slighter smaller than years past. We will probably harvest our sparkling wine fruit from Arroyo Seco at the end of August and our Chardonnay in Livermore the first week of September.” Says Niki Wente
We first saw veraison in our Petite Sirah in our Herman ranch in the Livermore Valley, right around the second week of July. Each variety ripens differently based on heat accumulation and crop size. We are now seeing our Pinot Noir go through veraison in Arroyo Seco, and our Merlot in the Livermore Valley is not too far behind.
Anticipation to Grape Harvest
Our winemaker and viticulture managers will begin tasting the grapes for flavor development in a couple of weeks and gauge when to pick them. In addition to tasting the grapes, we measure sugar levels, pH and acidity to also help us determine when our fruit is ready to be picked. Our viticulture and winemaking team are gearing up for the most exciting part of the year – harvest.
For now, we want the grapes to focus their energy on creating more sugar and flavor to make the perfect combination and the award-winning, certified sustainable wines we love. And, of course, hoping that mother nature is on our side.
Revisit Past Harvests
While we wait on this years harvest, we invite guests to revisit our 2019 wine selection in our tasting room. Guest can also buy online to compare your favorite Livermore Valley wines side-by-side with the future harvests for a delightful wine flight.