Last Wednesday, I was surprised to see that many of the grapes out in the vineyard had suddenly started to show signs of ripening. I shouldn't have been surprised, I guess — it is getting to be late August. But everything to do with fruit and vegetables has been so late this year, after all the bad weather we had in May and June.
This stage in the development of the grapes is called "veraison", I read, and it's a French word (véraison) that is also used in English. It's the point at which the grapes stop growing and start ripening. It's easy to see the veraison when you look at rows of red wine grapes.
One other development has caught my eye too. Some of the vignerons (grape growers/winemakers) have been doing what is called vendange en vert or vendanges vertes up and down their rows of vines. The "green harvesting" is a thinning out or éclaircissage of the overabundant grapes.
If there are too many grapes per plant, the wine made from them might be thin and acidic because the vine will be stressed. Culling the superfluous bunches is a way to make the remaining ones healthier and sweeter. There is a danger, however; the grapes left on the ground can rot and spread disease in the vineyard.
I've been known to go out and gather some of the healthy-looking culled grape bunches and make grape jelly with them. I obviously waited too long to pick up the ones in the two photos above. By the way, our afternoon temperatures are supposed to go back up into the 90s in ºF (mid-30s in ºC) this coming week.