As the weather warms and the winter clouds begin to fade, the grape vines are waking up. The vineyards have soaked up the winter rains that will nourish the plants throughout the summer. As the sun warms the vineyard and the temperature rises, sap in the vines begins to flow from the root to the tip.
The sap carries water, nutrients, and stored carbohydrates from the roots into the trunk and then out the cordons which look like the arms of the vine to the spurs. Small bumps appear on the spurs and begin to swell and grow. With more warmth, these prepubescent buds expand and new green buds sprout from the previously dormant vines. Within a short amount of time, these tiny buds grow and miniature leaves unroll and fan out.
This miracle transforms the dull dead looking vineyards into highlights of green, plush with emerging life and future potential. These sprouts can grow inches a day rapidly transforming the landscape into a sea of life.
This is process is called Bud Break and signifies to the farmer and piques the interest of the winemaker that the vines have awoken from their long winter slumber. Each vine wakes up differently based upon the varietal and the local weather conditions. Some years they wake up early and sometimes late; this year we are right on schedule.
There are still risks though, a late frost will damage this new growth and can adversely affect the yield of the crop. The last few years have been bumper crops; we will see what Mother Nature has in store for us this year. Farmers are acutely aware of these risks and use fans and sprinklers to help mitigate the risk of frost damage and stay diligent on the watch for potential problems.
The buds turn into canes that will eventually support the cluster of grapes. About 50-80 days after bud break, the vines will flower and set the stage for this year’s harvest which typically happens in May. We will continue to keep you updated on what is happening in the vineyard as the vines mature.
After a brief slumber in the winery, we are also in a process of rapid growth and new potential. Wines are being selected and blending for bottling and grape contracts are being written for the 2019 harvest. Over the next few months, we will be releasing more wines and new blends which is always exciting.
As a reminder, we bottle in small lots and each lot tends to be a little different than the previous; so, if you like something, it is suggested to stock up because once it is gone, it is gone for good. For example, we released our 2017 Cabernet Franc in late February and our first bottling of 78 cases are nearly sold out; but don’t worry, we have another bottling run schedule in another 2 weeks.
P.S. Take a moment each day to observe the beauty of life as it unfolds all around us and within us.