The "véraison" in Champagne
Reims, August 1, 2020
Véraison is the point in the vine growth cycle when the grapes begin to take on color. Since chlorophyll is no longer the dominant pigment, the green grapes change color. The Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, which are red varieties, first turn from green to pink and finally to a dark purple. Chardonnay, a white grape, becomes translucent and then takes on a yellow hue.
The start of véraison begins a new stage — that of ripening as such. The grapes again grow larger. As their color becomes more pronounced, the proportion of sugar increases and acidity decreases, up to the time of harvesting, which is done when full maturity — in fact a balance between sugars and acids — has been attained.
Isabelle Tellier, Chef de Cave of the House of Chanoine Frères, reports that the first signs of véraison appeared around 20 July for the earliest sectors — in particular Les Riceys, where much of the Pinot Noir grapes used by the House are grown.
In Champagne as a whole, Isabelle notes that “Véraison began in general in late July, which means that we can expect the harvests this year will probably start during the last ten days of August.”