What’s happening in the Vineyard

What’s happening in the Vineyard

This is an excellent time of year in the vineyard

Sure, a lot of the country is still in the depths of winter, but here on the west coast where it never really gets that cold, things are starting to happen. Vines are beginning to grow. Crews are out working on the vines. Vineyard managers are losing a lot of sleep!

It is a bit early for growth to start but probably not unprecedented. Here we are at the start of March, and the vines have reached bud break. Bud break is when the buds break open and the shoots for this year’s growth start appearing. If you had looked a couple weeks ago you could have seen that they were swelling. This is a vineyard manager first sign that it is time to get busy!

The activity in the vineyard right now is the last bit of pruning. Pruning season starts right after the vines go dormant for the winter and depending on the manager’s choice, can happen anytime between November and March. The act of pruning is to remove last year’s growth from the vine and prepare the vine for ease of cultivation for this year’s crop. Left unpruned, the vine will happily grow and produce grapes. The yield will be much lower and the crop much more difficult to harvest come fall.

Now that the vines are growing

The vineyard manager’s main concern is frost damage. It is still cold at night and if the temperature drops to 34F alarms will go off in the vineyard manager’s bedroom. The Vine Manager will leap out of bed (that might be overstated) and rush to the vineyard to turn on the frost protection. This might be big fans, it might be sprinklers, it might be kerosene heaters. It will not include large numbers of people with fake wings flapping through the vineyards (Movie reference: A Walk In The Clouds starring Keanu Reeves).

The activity is beginning. Lots to do for this year’s wine.

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