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Frey Vineyards

Molly Frey
August 28, 2023 | Farm & Garden | Molly Frey


Frey Grapes in Veraison

Across all our home vineyards, the grapes are going through something called “Veraison.” It’s the time when the development of the fruit really starts to peak, as the sugars send their sweet flows through the vines to help the grape mature. In medieval times, this experience was celebrated in France, and as modern Californians, we’re looking to share about this ecological phenomenon in the viticulture world here on our winery blog. 

From an agricultural point of view, this mark of grape growth lets the winery manager, Derek Dahlen, know that crush is just around the corner. Because nature has a timing all of its own, the maturation of the grapes changes annually. This past year, we experienced a longer-than-usual winter and cold spring. As snowfall occurred well into April in the vineyards, the grapes have taken more time than usual to mature. Most years, harvest would have begun by August. Instead, we’ve enjoyed a period of relative calm. We expect the grapes to start coming in later in September, once the fruits have all developed into their fullest sweetnesses. 

From an aesthetic perspective, Veraison shows us a visual narrative about the life cycle of the wine grape. The red wine grapes in particular transition from small green orbs, full of potential, to deep reds and purples, juicy and ripe. The contrast shows up as clusters of artworks, combining the promise of the new fruits with the realization of the full grapes. Veraison combines these two stages in a gorgeous juxtaposition, the becoming and the fruition together, all rolled into one cluster. Our biodynamic home vineyards are full of these visibly stunning fruits. 

I've always loved living on the Frey ranch where many of us are weaving in and out of the vineyards on a daily basis. Whether we're just taking in the fresh air, or in my case, walking the goats to graze and fertilize the vines, living so close to the grapes we grow provides us with a kind of natural rhythm to our year. Just as the last flush of blackberries are being enjoyed and the weather begins to change from summer's fullness of heat to a preview of fall's cooler times, the grapes too reach their final phase of growth, preparing for the harvest season ahead. 

For over forty years, my family has been tending to this land, supporting a flourishing relationship with the vines here. Just as we tend to the grapes, the grapes, in their own way, contribute to our connection with the natural world around us. I can see why Veraison historically became a cause for celebration for those inextricably intertwined with grapes, marking another successful year together. In gratitude to the grape, enjoy these beautiful images of Veraison in full glory taken by photographer Yvonne Bard of Ranchomatic

If you'd like to see firsthand what Veraison looks like at the Frey Ranch, you can visit our YouTube channel.

Close up of vineyard grapes

Photo of grapes in Veraison



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