Walking the vine rows this time of year is always such a treat, especially when looking at our red grapes. The clusters are changing color from green to variations of ruby red and purple, during the annual ritual of summer known by the French term, “Veraison.” The deep hues spreading throughout our vineyards are a telltale sign that harvest is around the corner.
Veraison is a crucial moment during the growing season. Once it has arrived, our vineyard crew helps the resilient berries become the best versions of themselves through the process of crop thinning. Crop thinning is when we remove extra grape bunches from a vine, with the goal of balancing yield and fruit ripeness. This is always done by hand so we can spot the bunches that are less advanced than the others.
By removing excess fruit, we can ensure the vines are focused on ripening the best grapes and the right quantity of grapes. With fewer grapes receiving the nutrients from the vine, the remaining crop becomes healthier and their flavors become more concentrated.
The practice of crop thinning is a substantial one for Frank Family every year and is just another example of how adding the human touch in the vineyard creates remarkable wines in the bottle. It may seem like a simple step in the grape growing process, but it certainly makes a difference in the overall quality and flavor of our grapes.
As we cross the days off the calendar and head into Fall, harvest is on our minds. Indeed, we will welcome our first picked fruit in just four days – Chardonnay grapes from our Lewis Vineyard for sparkling wine production. Grapes for our still wines will likely start to be picked at the end of August, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being first. Crush typically lasts until near the first of November, when late-red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested. Follow us on Instagram @FrankFamilyVineyards to stay up to date with our 2020 harvest journey!