The vine wakes up
As early as March, the buds start to develop. Twigs and leaves begin their growth period. After remaining dormant throughout the winter, the sap flows back into the plant. Spring is here and the vine wakes up! The blossoming of the vine buds in the spring is called budburst. It is the beginning of the annual vegetative cycle. Depending on the year and the grape variety, budburst occurs more or less late, but in all cases it takes place between mid-March and mid-April.
In the middle of spring, the vine lets its little flowers appear, it’s flowering! During this stage, the flowers open and develop, then the caps fall off and let the future grapes appear. We are used to say “good flowering, good harvest”! If the weather is good enough and the flowering takes place under the sun, it is the guarantee of a good harvest.On the other hand, if it rains or if it is cold, fertilization will be difficult and coulure and millerandage may occur.
Beware of the last frosts !
In winter, the vine tolerates negative temperatures very well. The buds are then well protected because they are sheltered in their “bourre”. But the young shoots that come out in spring are extremely fragile, and the slightest temperature below 0°C can destroy them in a few hours! From -2°C onwards the damage is likely to be major, especially if the humidity level is high. However, cold damage depends on the stage of development of the vine. Thus, young buds that have not yet hatched resist more easily than young green shoots. Transition between winter and summer, spring is a period of meteorological instability. Thus, periods of very mild weather and cold snaps are possible at any time. In popular culture, the vegetation will be quiet once the Ice Saints have passed: “When Saint Urban’s Day is over, the winegrower is reassured”!
The Marquis at work: the vine in springtime
But then what is the Marquis doing in the vineyard in the spring? Does he watch the flowers bloom? In spring the Marquis consults the weather forecast! That’s what will determine the planning of his operations in the vineyards. From April onwards, the vines grow at a frantic rate of about 14 cm/day! The buds that develop allow the branching of the stems. It is at this stage that branches that do not grow properly are removed. It is by keeping the best twigs that we obtain very ripe, quality grapes! In April-May, the trellising is carried out. It allows the branches of the vine to be maintained on a wire structure. Thus, the vine is well aired and benefits from optimal sun exposure.
The Marquis’ vines wake up and prepare their fruit! See you in the summer to find out all about the rest of the annual cycle.