There’s an electricity in the air in early Spring when the vineyards awaken from dormancy. Wild shades of vibrant green shoots emerge from the bare vines and stretch upward to the sun. Tendrils wrap around the staked guide wires and prepare for flowering.
Grape flowers are called the perfect flowers, as they self-pollinate, without the need for bees. A few days after flowering occurs, fruit set takes place. Fruit set is the actual formation of the grape seeds, which grow rapidly, forming mature grapes over the next 100 days.
Pruning and canopy management, is essential. Leaves or grape clusters are often removed during the growing season to allow for ventilation and for even ripening. Some vineyard managers will thin or drop excess grape clusters in order to concentrate the juices.
Shimmering leaves dance in the wind at every turn. Over the next few months, the grapes will turn color, depending on the varietal. Known as Véraison (French for “change of color”), this is the most beautiful time of year.
The diurnal day/night temperature swings control the acidity in the grapes. Likewise, the warmer the days, the higher the sugar levels, which equates to higher alcohol levels in the finished wine. Wind flow also plays an important role in cooling the grapes.
Viticulture is a balancing act. Mother nature is not always kind, and that’s why each vintage is different and exciting at the same time. Cheers to the 2019 growing season!