As we all know, wine, a much-loved beverage comes from grapes. What makes wine great though, is highly dependable on the time the fruit spends on the vine.
The vine is a complex and wonderful living organism, which undergoes a full circle of life. This includes a series of surprising transformations throughout the year and every single part is equally important for the whole, which represents the miracle of life in fruit form.
As nature moves forward untamed, it is up to us to understand its life cycle if we are to enjoy its fruit, whilst also guaranteeing its future.
THE CIRCLE OF VINE:
As soon as the first rays of sun appear, the sap (juice) on the vines, spell the end of winter and the beginning of a new era.
- Budding – both beautiful and poetic:
Around March-April, the first signs of life occur. After the winter pruning, new buds begin to break. During this period the buds are both delicate and fragile as frost or hailstorm can seriously damage them. Green shoots will grow, and slowly leaves are shaped.
- Blooming the perfect flower:
In May/June, the perfect flower blooms! It can pollinate itself without the need of bees.
- Berry growing:
Occurs in summertime, small berry bunches begin to form.
A word stemming from the French word “verir”, which means to ripen. It actually describes the most beautiful time of the year in the vineyard, where berries change colour and each grape variety reveals its particular pigment. Some describe it as the true explosion of life!
Like good wine, grapes need to take time to express their best character. Grapes continue to ripen and sugar levels rise.
September-ish, is the most crucial moment in the life of a grape. This is when the fruit reaches its perfect ripeness. In other words, the moment the winemaker has been waiting for! The grouping depends on the winemaking style and the variety of each individual grape.
Does not occur in all grapes but this is one of the methods winemakers use in order to produce sweet, dessert wines! Producers leave a few bunches on the vine, which lead to dried, concentrated high sugared fruit.
- Winter Dormancy:
In the cold winter months (November – January) the vine settles into resting state. Producers need to perform one of the most important activities, known as winter pruning. The previous year’s canes are cut back, leaving behind only the best canes to grow new shoots for the coming year’s harvest. This is where the cycle begins once more.
We depend on it, now and forever. After all, this is part of the circle of life, and it indeed, moves us all…!
See you next week!
Until then.. Strike for a glass half full !