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"Why do the leaves of some vines turn a pretty red color in the fall, but others don’t?" —Catherine N. (Portland, Oregon)

Actually, Catherine, grapevine leaves are not supposed to turn bright colors the way, say, maple trees in New England do. Those vivid red leaves may be pretty, but they mean the vine has a severe virus. As winter approaches and the vine moves into a dormant state, the leaves will naturally yellow at the edges a bit before they fall off for good. Next spring, new green leaves will emerge. Like small solar panels, leaves absorb sunlight. This light, through the act of photosynthesis, converts starches in the vine to sugars, thereby ripening the grapes.

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