After about two weeks of regular light rain, we have experienced two weeks of hot, dry weather. Fortunately, we have lots of ground moisture and only the newly planted vines will need additional water if the weather stays hot and dry. Our mature vines have root systems that go at least 15 feet deep, so they can fend for themselves.
Generally, warm weather helps the grapes to ripen. But, if the temperatures get above about 95°F, the vines stop photosynthesizing the sunlight they get and ripening pauses until the temperatures drop. It makes it hard to project exactly when we will be harvesting.
The grapes started through veraison last week. That is the final step in ripening when the purple grapes start to change from a milky green berry that is hard as a ball bearing to a softer grape that is increasingly purple in color. Grapes that are used to make white wine change to a translucent amber as they go through veraison. From now until harvest, the grapes will get sweeter and softer and the acids in the grape juice will decline.