After a relatively mild start to summer, “veraison” is now underway at our estate Margarita Vineyard.

Verasion is a French term that signifies the onset of grape ripening. This is when the hard green berries begin to swell and sweeten and change color, marking the official turning point toward harvest. The first signs of veraison appeared at Margarita Vineyard in the third week of July.

“We’re a week or so behind normal timing for the onset of veraison, but things are heating up right now,” says co-owner and viticulturist Doug Filipponi. “Being in a cooler part of the Paso Robles AVA, we need these warmer days to get us to the finish line, particularly with our Bordeaux varieties.”

Doug notes that veraison is just getting underway at Margarita Vineyard, and that everything is pointing in the right direction now that the heat is on. Concurrently, the vineyard team is busy making sure that the developing fruit gets the right amount of sunlight.

“Canopy management is critical in the runup to veraison,” Doug says. “We are pulling leaves and raising wires on the east-facing side of the vines to get more airflow and sunlight into the fruiting zone.”

This allows for enhanced fruit exposure to the gentler morning sunlight while maintaining sufficient shade against the harsher afternoon sunlight—all to promote balanced grape ripening across the vine.

“We still have a ways to go, but I’m happy with the growing season so far,” Doug says. “The vineyard looks great.”