During the month of July, the vineyards are buzzing with various activities as the vines are at the critical stage of their growth cycle. Here are some key activities that typically take place at wineries during this month:
- Veraison: One of the most important events in July is the start of veraison. Veraison is the process by which grape berries begin to change color and soften. For red grape varieties, the berries turn from green to red or purple, and for white grape varieties, they turn from green to yellow or golden. This is an indicator that the grapes are entering the ripening phase, in general the harvest begins 100 days after the start of veraison.
- Ripening of the grapes: July marks the beginning of the process of ripening the grapes, which continues throughout the summer and into the beginning of autumn. Sugar levels in grapes increase, while acidity gradually decreases, making the fruit more palatable and suitable for winemaking.
- Canopy management: Vineyard workers often focus on canopy management in July. Canopy refers to the leaves, shoots and tendrils of vines. Good canopy management includes trimming excess growth, removing leaves to allow sunlight to reach the grape clusters, and ensuring adequate air circulation to prevent disease.
- Irrigation: In some areas, where rainfall may be sparse or erratic, vineyard managers may need to irrigate vines in July to ensure vines receive enough water to support healthy growth and development.
- Disease and pest control: With the hot and humid conditions of summer, vineyards are susceptible to various diseases and pests. Vineyard managers closely monitor the vines for signs of diseases such as mildew and powdery mildew and take necessary measures, such as applying appropriate treatments, to prevent their spread.
- Harvest Preparations: While the actual harvest usually takes place later in the summer or early fall, July is a crucial time for planning and preparation. Vineyard owners and grape growers assess the condition of the vines, estimate the potential yield and plan the harvest accordingly.
- Green harvest: In some vineyards, the green harvest can take place in July. This involves removing immature grape clusters to reduce the yield per vine, allowing the vine to focus its energy on the remaining grapes, resulting in higher quality fruit.
- Monitoring and data collection: The managers of the vineyard frequently collect data during the month of July to follow the evolution of the vine and the grapes. This data helps them make informed decisions about vineyard practices and harvest timing.
Overall, July is a critical month in the life cycle of vines, as it sets the stage for the final ripening process that will ultimately determine the quality of the grapes and the wines that will be made from them.