It is the ripening stage before we harvest
The grape cycle begins with bud break, generally in March or April. Flowering, and fruit set happens shortly after. Then followed in the summer by veraison which leads into harvesting. By Thanksgiving, we have the beautiful colors of fall. The leaves start to fall, which leads into dormancy in the month of December and January. We then prune in January.
Currently, we are in the veraison stage. This is the stage before harvest. After “fruit set”, the red grapes varietals are green and still hard, sugar is still very low and acidic levels are high. Veraison is the ripening stage of the grapes. I was thrilled to see recently our award-winning Syrah start to turn to a velvety purple. The change of color is due to the chlorophyll in the skin of the red grapes being replaced by anthocyanins. (A water soluble pigment that give flowers or fruit their colors, ranging from red to blue.) The grapes start to ripen, sugar levels increase and acidity decreases. Within a week of the start of this stage, you can see tremendous change in this interesting transition of colors from green to red. Even the green grapes turn to an amber color. This process can sometimes take up to 45 days. (But not this year!)Because of the drought we are seeing that they have been maturing slightly faster.
A small berry has a better skin to juice ratio that ensures a better concentration of flavor and structure, something that’s very important in quality winemaking. Every grape varietal goes through a different time span from veraison to harvest. Just like any other fruit or vegetable, grapes are not any different. For instance, we harvest our Chardonnay usually the 2nd or 3rd week of August. The last few years because of the drought, it has varied between August 2nd to the 10th. This year it could be the week of the 8thor I should say we thought, but it looks like we will be harvesting this Monday. This will be the earliest we have ever harvested. This should be followed by Muscat, Merlot, and finally Syrah then Cabernet Sauvignon.
Please reserve your spot for one of our tours to see the grapes during this stage before we harvest. Please help the SVC Senior Center and purchase tickets to our Brunch on August 6. Support the SCV Senior Center’s Dancing with our Stars event.
Ashley Guardino & Michael Hogan
Our menu is below. We source our fruit and vegetables from a nearby organic farm. For anyone who is a calorie counter, all dishes are low fat and low in calories.
Every month we do a 7 mile hike and brunch. It includes a two hour hike through the Sierra Pelona Mountains, a light n healthy lunch, tour and tasting. Robert Reyes will guide you on a medium-advance level hike through the Sierra Pelona Mountains. You will have views of the beautiful valley from the 3500ft elevation. Are next hike and brunch is August 20th.
Chicken Sausage-Hash Brown Casserole
By Beth P. Heiserman
Every month this is a hit with our hikers and becomes more of a hit when they know it is low fat and made with our wine. This recipe can have many variations; I have added bell peppers, mushrooms and even summer squash. Last month, at the local farm where I get my produce they had beautiful purple, chocolate and orange bell peppers. It gives a great texture to this casserole. In this picture served with casserole, there are roasted rainbow carrots.
- 2 lbs sweet Italian chicken sausage (not in the casing) or use ground chicken or turkey
- 2 large potatoes, shredded
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 Anaheim or Hatch chili, diced
- ¼ cup Reyes 2013 Viognier
- 1 + ½ tsp salt, kosher
- ½ + ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp butter
- 10 egg whites or a 16oz container of egg whites
- 2 cups non fat milk
- Non stick cooking spray
- Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp butter, stirring until chicken crumbles and is no longer pink.
- Drain well and place in a 9×11 baking dish with non stick cooking spray.
- In same pan, with 1 tbsp butter, sauté onions and chili. Sprinkle a ½ tsp salt and pepper.
- Add Reyes 2013 Viognier and when the onions are translucence, remove from heat and layer on top of chicken.
- The evenly place the shredded potatoes then layer with shredded cheese.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, thyme and remaining 1 tsp salt. Pour evenly over potato mixture.
- Cover with tin foil.
- Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake until cheese for golden brown for about 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy with a glass of Reyes 2013 Viognier
Strawberry Basil French Toast made with 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Chicken Sausage Hash Brown Casserole made with 2013 Viognier
Romaine Salad with Greek dressing
Agua Dulce chicken salad made with 2013 Sauvignon Blanc
Cinnamon raisin pecan sticky rolls
Pluot jam with 2012 Syrah
Yogurt and granola