Ripening...

The ripening process completion of wine grapes on the vine is which signals the beginning of harvest is named ripeness, and this days that is what we're waiting for. 

What constitutes ripeness will vary depending on what style of wine and what we (winemakers) personally believe constitutes ripeness. Some focus on sugar and acids levels balance, others in the focus on achieving "physiological" ripeness in the grape. This physiological ripeness, also known as phenolic ripeness is a more complete ripeness of tannins and other phenolic compounds in the grapes that contribute to the color, flavor and aroma of wine. But is more difficult than that... 

In some wine regions, like burgundy, phenolic ripeness could be desired, but in hot regions like California or major Spain wine regions, the problem is the lack of balance between sugars and phenolic substances. Let me develop this. In hot regions sugar levels increase faster than in cold ones, but phenolic substances are more attached to the maturation season (needs its time), and the result could be to achieve a perfect phenolic ripeness (plenty of ripe tannins, aromas and flavors), but lack the balance and having 17% vol alcohol... 

At that point, the harvest natural conditions play the bigger rol, and condition in a big part our decisions. But we have this margin to decide to wait for a little more (aromas, flavor...) with the risk of increase too much alcohol levels or decide to harvest earlier and harvest green harsh tannins and hard acids.

Writing this lines, few days remains to start our harvest...