The onset of “Ripening” begins the plant’s final push to make the fruit attractive and tasty so the fruit gets consumed; resulting in the seeds being left in a nice pile of fertilizer. The picture shows clusters of Cabernet Franc going through what the French call “veraison” or the onset of ripening. Fruit that produces red wine starts out as green berries that change color during veraison. Cabernet Franc ripens quite late in cool climate growing regions, resulting in it being the last of our varieties to hit the press. Our winemaker says that the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are among the grapes that are picked last in the Finger Lakes; picking is usually the middle to end of October. Depending on the growing season, the fruit could hang until early November. Green fruit during veraison turns translucent and the berries soften up as they swell with sugar. The sugar that gets consumed by yeast to produce alcohol to make wine is also attractive to just about everything else.
More on that subject in the next blog entry.