Spring, joyous spring!
Since the timing of my first entry’s debut (helloooo world!) has fallen so fittingly into the beginning of the new vintage’s most exciting development phase, I decided to jump into this on the oh-so-relevant topic of spring.
It’s such an exciting time of year, everything seems to be coming back to life! Everyone is outside welcoming the first signs of the summer. The snow has melted away, the birds are singing happily outside of our windows, and the smell of a neighbour’s barbecue wafts through the air. Back are the days of sipping rosé on our balconies and eating ice-cream in the park, all the while pretending to be warm enough in our un-zipped leather jackets and rolled-up ripped jeans. Ahhh.. what a time to be alive!
One of my favourite things about spring is the way that the sunlight shines through the trees. When the branches are covered in tiny, new, bright green buds that are all breaking open to reveal leaves that will soon be big enough to shade our summer pic-nics. I find it so enchanting the way that new-growth introduces itself in such a vibrant manner. Spring is the time of cherry tree blossoms, bumble-bees, and ducklings… so, what’s not to love?!
Try asking your friendly neighbourhood winemaker.
For a vineyard manager or, vigneron, spring is a time to be solicitous. The vines have woken from their dormancy and are ready to get on with their development. When temperatures reach 10° C (50° F) the buds begin to break open. About 10 days from bud break, the leaves and tendrils begin to unfurl and from there the shoots start to grow. So sure, it’s exciting, but as happy as we all are to see bud break and growth, let’s not forget about those over-night frosts and strong wind, rain or hail storms that threaten the early development stage of crops.
Frost damage, for example, has already become a widespread concern across Europe this spring. It occurs when temperatures drop below 0° C (32° F) shortly after bud break, and can greatly reduce or even wipe out entire vintages. A recent and extremely devastating case occurred last April in Burgundy, France where it caused more damage than they have seen in over 30 years.
Spring is also the time for planting, which can be done by hand or by machine. New vines (normally purchased from a nursery) are planted in the place of old or dead stocks. When planting a new vineyard in the place of a pre-existing one, it is generally best to plant a cover crop after the deconstruction of the original vineyard. Leaving a cover crop for 1-2 years prior to planting the new vines will increase the soils organic matter and improve its availability of nutrients.
So, to recap:
Spring = Happiness, BBQ, ducklings (not barbecued ducklings.. don’t do that pls.), rosé, ice-cream, un-zipped jackets anddddd the perils of powerful Momma Nature.
I hope you enjoyed the ‘bud break’ of this blog!
The Wine Girl