We have a new face on the blog! Lynn Pedone will be working in the vineyard, with Dave Vella and his crew, as she pursues her studies in Viticulture at Santa Rosa Junior College. A little background on Lynn: she’s a recent East Coast transplant, has lived all over the world growing up in a military family and has previously worked in the world of business and finance. She’s now hoping to settle into her “last career stop until retirement” in the wine industry and is looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about vineyard maintenance with Dave. Lynn will be writing a weekly blog post about her experiences working in the Chateau Montelena vineyards. Read her latest post below:
Today, Montelena’s vineyard signaled the first sign of veraison – every year, one of the most important events in the vineyard that starts the countdown to harvest. Exactly what triggers this remarkable event isn’t fully known, but it may have something to do with seed maturity. Veraison means, literally, the “change of color of the grape berries” – basically, the onset of berry ripening. During this period, the vine switches its resources to ripening the fruit, and leaf and cane growth subside. The berries soften, seeds turn from green to brown, acids decline and sugars accumulate and fruity aromas develop. Not coincidentally, this is nature’s way of making the fruit appealing to animals! This morning’s assignment was leaf pulling in the fruit zone – to increase air circulation around the berries and give them more sun exposure. It was during this exercise that I pulled away leaves on one cluster to reveal, for the first time, purple berries. I ooh’d and aah’d with delight, and had to run back to my car to get my camera, afraid if I went back later and tried to find that exact bunch, I wouldn’t be able to find it. The vineyard crew carried on, unphased – though I think they were somewhat amused at my enthusiasm for something they have all seen already many times. The result of that effort is the photo, below, which I think you’ll agree is a thing of beauty!