The Life of a Grape Vine: Part 1
If you’re a fan of any wineries on Facebook, you may notice some very enthusiastic posts about bud break. It’s an extremely exciting time at a winery, and it usually serves as a reminder that spring is really here (sorry NYC-ers about that whole snow storm in late March). The grape vines have come out of their winter slumber and are ready to party. The term “bud break” is a descriptive one, but still: what exactly IS bud break?
The “bud” contains everything that will become the plant. The grapes, the leaves, the shoots- they all start out in that tiny bud. The “break” refers to the tiny buds literally breaking out of the protective gear that they hide under when its cold and they’re in winter dormancy.
As temperatures in the ground increase, the roots are stimulated and moisture makes its way up. The vines take their cue to grow, and leaves begin to form on the tiny buds. When bud break is officially declared, you’ll see lots of leaf action on the individual buds. And there you have it!
Bud break is one of the first major indicators of how that year’s harvest will develop. If bud break is early, the tiny buds are downright defenseless against frost damage. A vineyard can lose some of its yield to a particularly heavy frost.
More than anything, bud break is poetic; it signifies the end of winter and the beginning of that year’s real growing season. From bud break on, its time to watch the vines’ every move and prepare for harvest.
Game on, grape vines.