So, there I was…helping my friends at Ramey Cellars unload 158 barrels in early August as they prepared for the 2011 harvest. This is about the time I really started getting excited and knew I had to get back into the winemaking/internship arena!
Veraison: The red varietals start to turn from green berries to red, the white varietals get a little yellower. The berries begin the ripening stage where the sugar content goes up and the malic acid decreases (here is the wiki definition if you want to get more depth).
As you browse the pictures (click for better view), take note of how fast and how the different varietals ripen: i.e., the Zin ahead of the Cab, the Valley floor ahead of the Mountain fruit (Chappellet, Pritchard Hill), the Russian River fruit ahead of the cool Sonoma Coast.
The three Pinot Noir pictures below really emphasize the difference of ripening by site. These three pictures were taken on the same day in late August.