North Fork veraison: The syrah starts to turn

Syrah grapes begin to ripen at Jamesport Vineyards. (Credit: vera Chinese)

Syrah grapes begin to ripen at Jamesport Vineyards. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Some North Fork red varietals began to change colors this week, a process known as veraison that is the first sign the fruit has ripened.

During the process, grapes go from a floral green color to a deep, dark purple as they become ripe for the picking.

We spotted a handful of syrah clusters at Jamesport Vineyards starting to turn on Tuesday and Bedell Cellars staffers posted photos of red syrah on their Facebook page. Some pinot noir at Lieb Cellars has also started to turn, as well as some grapes at Macari Vineyards, according to those winery’s Facebook page.

“It’s always cool to see it,” said Jamesport Vineyards winemaker Dean Babiar. “First 20 percent start to turn, then 50 and then 80. The next thing you know, they’re all purple. It’s like they turn overnight.”

As the berries begin to ripen, acid levels drop and sugar levels rise.

Merlot and cabernet franc, which are much more widely grown on the North Fork, will start to turn in about a month, Babiar said.

For those looking to squeeze every drop out of your North Fork summer, don’t fret. The first day of the 2015 harvest won’t begin for at least another month.