The vineyard is often silent but never still. This time of year the vine activity is visible. We are in the period between budbreak at the end of April and bloom in late June or early July depending, as always, on weather. The spring rains were positive for the vineyard. Coming out of a drought period it felt like a lot of rain but was actually close to average.
Warmer temperatures in May were welcome news for the newly emerging shoots, generating a burst of rapid early season growth. Risk of spring frost notwithstanding, viticulturists like to see rapid growth early in the growing season because early season pressures such as mites are more likely if the buds are allowed to languish on the vines after they open. Ideally the shoots will be able to push steadily on through to bloom, when the inconspicuous inflorescences shed their caps.
Work in the vineyard is taken up with disbudding, suckering, moving catch wires and cultivating under the vines and between the rows while the vines grow their canopies and continue to develop. Warm weather and fairly dry conditions are optimal for the grapes now.
Bloom is a progression, not an event. By the time the last vines are blooming the first ones are already setting fruit. That’s because the vineyard is a composite of distinct meso-climates and topographies where vines of different ages grow a variety of grapes. What looks like row upon row of uniform vines belies the diversity of our estate. And that diversity is part of what gives wine its mystery and allure.