When was the last time you had a glass of wine? Did you notice how aromatic it was? How wonderful it tasted as it washed down your tongue? A lot of it depends on veraison, the period which marks the onset of grape ripening.
At veraison, the grapes slowly begin to soften and enlarge as the cells expand. And when that happens, the sugar levels shoot up dramatically and offset the acidity of the grape, giving the berries their distinct flavours.
These changes are accompanied by a medley of other chemical reactions in the berries. Anthocyanins accumulate and give the grapes their classic purple and red colours. The colours protect them from ultraviolet rays. Tannins increase, giving the wine a taste of astringence. Even more, tannins protect the tender vines against the depredations of grazing animals and pests.
All of this depends on the well-established, gradual changes of season, the quality of soil and the presence of water. In recent years, however, climate change has dramatically affected the quality of vintage. Heat waves, wildfires, frost, fog and droughts have devastated harvests in place as far away as Europe, Americas and Australia.
But surprisingly, despite the climate, 2022 has brought good news for vineyards and viticulturists.