Bud Break (March – April)
During March, you can start to see the buds on the branches. They are wrapped in a set of very thin filaments protecting the bud like a cocoon. In early April, these filaments are pushed and torn up by the many little leaves opening up : this is the Bud Break. Each bud will give birth to a new branch.
The sprouting of the vines (April – May)
After the first leaves appear, the vine will take advantage of the warm spring weather, the rain, and the sunshine to develop new branches carrying the future grapes. The sprouting will continue all along the vegetative cycle, up until a month before the harvest.
The Flowering (May-June)
Flowering is an essential step in the reproductive cycle of the grape. Weather conditions are very important during this process. Typically, temperature between 20 and 25 degrees is accepted, and we pray for minimal rain on the flower. Unfavorable weather conditions can sometimes lead to a bad pollination : we call that « Coulure » or « millerandage ». Often, such bad pollination will decrease quality and quantity of the harvest.
The Fruit Setting (June)
After the flowering, the flowers will grow into fruits during the fruit setting phase. The future wine grapes show small little green berries that will slowly grow, while staying green.
« Veraison » or Onset of Ripening (July – August)
Around mid-July, the grapes slowly change color. The components of color in the grape berry are the anthocyanins. During this process, along with the maturation of the grape berries, the quantity of acids diminishes significantly while the quantity of sugar increases quickly. The color goes from green to pink then blue-red to black for the red grape varieties.
The maturation of the berries
The onset of ripening gives way to a phase of grape maturation, lasting 35 to 55 days, during which the grapes increase in size and accumulate mineral elements, amino acids, phenolic compounds (such as tannins, aroma molecules, and anthocyanins responsible for the color of red grapes). When these components are optimum, the maturity is reached and the harvest can start. The maturity depends on the grape variety, and can be tested by analyses and by tasting the berries.
The winter rest
After the harvest during late September – early October, the leaves turn yellow and fall around mid November. This is the beginning of the vegetative rest of the vine which will last all winter until March.