Michael Larner Explains Veraison As A Survival Mechanism


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Winegrower Michael Larner explains a survival mechanism that wine grapes have developed to advertise their sugar levels to birds and other animals.

MICHAEL LARNER
So part of the whole thing that we are doing now is, this is what we want to see, is these clusters. We also have this fruit that you can tell is obviously behind. I mean, not just you know, in terms of color but also in terms of size. So this is probably almost about a month behind this. So, definitely now is the time to drop this because this is just sucking energy. It’s not going to do any good. It’s not going to be made into wine. We’re never going to harvest it.

WIL FERNANDEZ
It’s not going to even ripen?

MICHAEL LARNER
It would ripen, but it would ripen about a month after.

WIL FERNANDEZ
Oh, ok.

MICHAEL LARNER
Which, you know, there’s no point. But the other cool thing is you have some stuff that’s already started going into veraison. So, unlike whites, the reds start picking up color and so this is anthocyanins loading into the berries and you’re getting already red color, which eventually looks sort of blackish. The problem with this is it’s basically advertising to birds and everybody else that it’s now basically to the point where the seed could be eaten and pooped out and basically turn into another vine.

The grape doesn’t really care. Once its gotten color, it doesn’t really care what happens to it, because all it wants to do is propagate, so its starting to advertise. That’s why it changes color and that’s why it also starts sweetening itself to say, “Hey look at me. Eat me, I’m sweet,” right? They just want to do one thing, which is you know, propagate. We just want to come in here and say, “No, it’s not ready yet. We want to get better flavors, make wine out of it, do funny things like that.”

WIL FERNANDEZ
So we can propagate.

MICHAEL LARNER
So can propagate. Yeah, exactly, yeah.