Bud Break in the Vineyard
Oh the glory of springtime in the Willamette Valley, nature’s way of telling us that winter is almost over. However, there’s nothing quite as glorious or exciting as the signs of springtime in the vineyards, and the anticipation for the upcoming wine season. This little signal from mother nature is called “Bud Break,” and it happens as the vines wake up from their long winter naps.
During winter the vines stand bare and still, but are hard at work storing energy in their trunks and root systems. As temperatures rise and days get longer, the vines draw on that stored energy to push forth the first green leaves of a new growth cycle. This stage is called “Bud Burst,” and these tiny bursts have but one goal, to restart photosynthesis and generate new energy derived from the sun.
All of this typically happens in March, but in warmer months can happen as early as mid February. Light skinned varietals like Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris usually lead the charge and the darker skinned varietals like Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Syrah bring up the rear. This is a crucial time in the grape growing cycle as our “friend,” Jack Frost can show his wintery head towards the end of spring destroying those first delicate buds.
Here in The Willamette Valley we just had our latest snow on record falling on April 11th, 2022. A heavy wet snow stuck around a bit but doesn’t seem to have caused much damage…phew! The only variable you have zero control over in the vineyard, is weather.
Now we start the countdown to harvest.
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