It is go time in the vineyard! How do we know this? Well, starting in July, the grapes begin to do something extremely beautiful; they undergo véraison. What does this fancy French word mean? It is “change of colour of the grape berries.” This is the beginning stage of the ripening process. During véraison, red wine grapes go from green to red or purple and white wine grapes go from green to a more golden yellow hue.
The changing of colour isn’t the only thing that is happening our grapes. During this process the grapes will increase in volume, weight and sugar content. They start our as hard, small berries, but by the end they’re at full véraison, which means they will be quite a bit bigger and more pliable. When they reach the end of the véraison stage, harvest will begin.
Now, how do we know when it’s time to harvest our grapes? This all comes down to Galen Barnhardt, our winemaker. Galen and his team determine when harvest is to happen at Monte Creek Ranch and Lion’s Head vineyards by testing the grapes in different ways. They will actually taste the grapes, as well as measure sugar levels, pH and acidity. When the combination is ideal, harvest will begin. We pick our grapes by hand and this is typically done at the end of August and the beginning of September.
We talk about this beautiful process during our walking tours. We run these guided tours daily at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. We can take up the 15 people and the cost is $10 per person. If you would like to join in on this unique winery tour, give us a call at 250-573-5399. Cheers!