California Wine Month in Spring Mountain - September

By September, veraison is in full swing at Sherwin Family Vineyards. This is a critical time for the vintners and an exciting time for visitors. This month we would like to give you some insight into veraison, and what makes this a special time of year for winemakers.

Veraison is Special for Visitors

The grapes are literally changing colors on the vines at this time of year, and even the white grapes are becoming more translucent as they ripen. Visitors to Sherwin Family Vineyards during veraison will enjoy an enlightening experience of actually seeing the grapes of their favorite wines ripening to perfection. Since grapes ripen at slightly different speeds, you can observe the changes-- from subtle to obvious-- taking place on a single vine. You can even watch the grapes being sorted for quality and processing.

Hand Harvest Begins

During September and October, the grapes ripen and must be harvested by hand to be certain that only the grapes which meet exacting standards are harvested. They ripen quickly and must be harvested at just the right time, so the vineyards of Spring Mountain are bustling with workers examining the vines and picking only those at the peak of their ripeness. Ripening occurs at a different pace based on the varietal being grown, and the harvest will progress from one type of grape to another throughout the season.

Winemaking Begins

After grapes have been picked and sorted they are quickly moved into processing. Crushing and pressing must take place quickly to avoid spoilage, over-ripening, and even early natural fermentation. Red grapes are pressed and some of the skins and seeds from the process are used to enhance coloration and add other qualities. White grapes are crushed and the skins and seeds removed. Just as each vintner has a preferred time to pick, they also have their own unique pressing and crushing processes in order to achieve their own unique wines.

Fermentation Offers a Break

Fermentation takes place largely without interference. In fact, a vinting can be spoiled by too much interference from the vintners. Instead, the fermentation period is a time of recuperating from the hectic pace of harvest. Winemakers and visitors are given a chance to socialize a little more, celebrating the coming end to another successful season. White wines tend to reach a peak in fermentation in as little as 10 days or so, and that means a bit of early tasting is just around the corner when fermentation begins. Red wines take a little longer, so the celebration of veraison stretches out for most of the autumn months as one wine and then another reaches fruition.

Closing the Season

By the end of October, the leaves have turned and the nights have begun to chill. The hectic days of September are past and vintners are eager to entertain guests and show off their best wines. Veraison may be a busy time in Spring Mountain, but the benefits which follow are worth the effort.

Visit us for a tasting and attend some of the many fall events happening during harvest on Spring Mountain.

Written by Matt Sherwin