Wine Wisdom – Veraison

The Vine’s Annual Cycle – from Weeping to Veraison

It’s often said that wine is made in the vineyard and there are several factors that make this true. One factor is the vineyard workers who care and tend for the vines. Another factor is the grape vine. The amazing plant that year after year, through a well-established annual growth cycle, produces the fruit that is made into wine.

What is that well-established annual cycle? After the harvest and during the winter months grape vines are dormant conserving energy for spring and new growth. It’s during the spring that the vine’s annual cycle begins to focus on wine. As the ground temperature begins to rise above 50 degrees, sap will begin to flow upward in the vine and out the tips of the canes (the vine’s branches) that were pruned during the winter months. This is referred to as “weeping.”

Within days, bud break occurs, greenery and tiny shoots emerge from the nodes left on the canes. Over the next one to two months, the shoots and greenery grow into new canes and leaves.

Flowering then begins. Tiny clusters of flowers appear along the canes and since vinifera grapes are self-pollinating, insects are not necessary for fertilization. Each fertilized flower becomes a “berry” and with the immature grapes sometimes being called “berries,” referred to as berry set or fruit set.

Over the following three to four months the vine, taking on water and nutrients and benefiting from the sun will grow the grapes from small, hard, green berries, high in acid and low in sugar to physiologically mature grapes that are higher in sugar and lower in acid. This important step in grape production is known as veraison and is when red grapes begin to color and white grapes become translucent or golden. Harvest is now near and the winemakers take over the responsibility of turning the vine’s hard work into the wine that we all enjoy.

From weeping to veraison—intrigued? Good, and if you like the wine then enjoy it! Cheers!

Do you have a question on wine, submit it to us at

 Wine Education Committee, CL Keedy