Sometime in the waning summer, every grape hits a crucial point when it begins to morph from a hard, green berry into soft, plump reddish (or green-yellow, depending on the variety) fruit. The French have named this biological turn veraison, the grape's first step toward its final destiny in the wine bottle.
This moment is also a wake-up call for winemakers. They will spend the rest of the summer watching their vines with eagle eyes, their minds constantly occupied with thoughts about the weather ("Will it get too hot? Too cold? Too rainy? Too dry?") and a myriad of other factors that affect the year's crop and the upcoming crush, when they can finally put the "vin" into "vintage."
It's a remarkably busy time in wine country, with a year's worth of pruning, irrigating and canopy management culminating in a frantic race to pick, crush and ferment at precisely the right time.
Each year, Wine Spectator's coverage of the Northern Hemisphere harvest keeps you posted on the happenings in the vineyards of America and abroad. Watch for regular news updates, and get an insider's perspective on the harvest from the winemakers themselves, who have agreed to keep a blog of their experience as they toil and sweat and strive to pick a winner.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions