The rate that the grapevines grow in the spring is truly
amazing.  The grapevines, like
rosebushes, are pruned back in February so that the only about 2” of vertical
shoot comes off the horizontal canes.  In
March, we can see the first sign of bud break starting as the young bud areas
start swelling in preparation for bud break. 
Around St. Patrick’s Day, fittingly for an Irish winery, bud break,
meaning the first green, almost micro-leaves, make their appearance in the
Chardonnay.  The Sauvignon Blanc follows
next, then Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and finally Cabernet Sauvignon in early
April. 

Then the race is on. 
By mid-June, they will have grown approximately 6 feet long, an average
of 2/3” per day.  You can see the change
in the vineyard on a day by day basis.


Then in late April, tiny little miniature grape clusters appear.  Only about ½” long, these tiny clusters will put out a bunch of tiny flowers.  The grapes fertilize themselves with these tiny flowers.  The grapes are hermaphrodites (excusing me for talking dirty like a high school biology teacher) meaning that both male and female sex organs are on the same plant,  so no bees are required, but good weather is required.  Otherwise the grapes are not in the mood to reproduce.

 

We call this “set” – this is a critical event each year.  One year our crop was off 40% because of rainy weather resulting in a poor set.  The wine turned out great – this was our 2008 Seduction and 2008 Merlot – but we just didn’t have too much of it (those of you who have been members with us for a while will remember how fast it went).


Check out the sunlight in the above picture! 
Mystical force of nature caught by the camera!

So we are off to another vintage, holding our breath, hoping for the best, drinking a glass of wine, marveling at Mother Nature once more.
Bart O’Brien – Life of a romantic winemaker

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