The 2015 growing season is continuing to move along at a furious pace, with véraison now nearing completion throughout the vineyard. Pascal spotted the first few berries going through véraison on July 16 – quite early – in Block P2 (Malbec) on Arise Bench.
Véraison refers to when the berries soften and change in colour, e.g. from green to red skins for red grape varieties. At this point, clusters begin to slowly accumulate sugar and lose their tart acidity. Véraison typically signifies that harvest is approximately six weeks away for white varieties and seven weeks for reds.
What does this mean? An early harvest, with growth approximately 15 days ahead of average. Chardonnay is likely the first to be harvested in mid-September.
This year has been unprecedented, with a number of days exceeding temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius. Indeed, 2015’s accumulated Growing Degree Days have surpassed each of our last four years of measurement to date. Such heat is well-suited to our late ripening Bordeaux red varieties.
The challenge has been to reduce the impact of heat spikes. We have not removed any leaves from the fruit zone, ensuring adequate shading for clusters and preventing sunburn. Irrigation management has also been critical. Once véraison is complete, irrigation will be significantly decreased for the remainder of maturation.
In short, 2015 is shaping up to be another exceptional vintage in the Okanagan.