Harvest 2013 is underway, and the aroma of freshly crushed grapes is present in the air of #Napa and #Sonoma Valleys. A lot of work goes into growing and producing the high-quality fruit that is converted into your favorite wine. There are 12 steps in the life cycle of a grape. In this first of a four-part series, we’ll discuss the first 3 steps:
Winter pruning season takes place over an extended period of time, and pruning is a highly skilled vineyard practice. The purpose is to guide the vine in certain directions. Much of this work is done by vineyard workers who are year-round employees.
The first tender buds of the growing season emerge from the dormant vine during this phase. Depending on vine variety and vineyard location, bud break can take place over a two month period.
After a month or so of vegetative growth, a vine will develop tight bunches of tiny flowers. Each flower has the potential to form a single grape berry. Frost and wind are concerns at this stage, because when there is danger of frost, vintners and growers take steps to protect the tender young shoots, including the use of large fans to circulate the cold air; sprinkling the vines with water to coat them in a blanket of protective ice; and use of heaters to warm the air temperature in the vineyard.