It happens quite quickly, seemingly from one day to the next, and veraison (colour change) is here!
I noticed it today in the Tempranillo while doing my scheduled fungus control spraying. Am sure it's happening in the Pinot Noir too which I sprayed last week and I bet the Semillon won't be far behind. The Cabernet Sauvignon has a few more weeks to go being the latest ripener.
It was happening only in a couple of bunches but this suggests that it's time to think about harvest and wine making and getting all the preparation jobs that this entails done.
This means getting the bottling of last year's vintage finished so we have tank space, cleaning and maintenance of all the processing the equipment (crusher, press, fermenter) checking and ordering chemical stocks (yeasts, acids etc.), finding the bunch snips that always seem to get lost somewhere during the year, cleaning the collection buckets and laboratory equipment and last but not least making sure the batteries in the pH meter have not gone flat (a perennial problem!).
And it is now all the grape growers/winemakers in the region go against all other farming trends and hope for no rain, especially the long term torrential stuff, over the next 2 to 3 months. This will allow the grapes to ripen with undiluted juice resulting in high sugar levels and full flavour as well as no threat of berry splitting and resultant fungus attack. In the Shoalhaven this would be a one in ten year event so we don't hold out a lot of hope but one can dream.
And I am sure in the next weeks the phone will be ringing with other vineyards checking on my availability for picking.
The lazy hazy days of summer are coming to an end.