Bud Break 2022!
The annual cycle of growth in the vineyard is dramatic and beautiful. There are four “markers” during each growing season; the first is bud break when the new shoots first appear after the winter dormant phase, the second is bloom, or blossom, the third is veraison, when the red grapes begin show color, and lastly full ripeness and harvest.
Bud break occurred in our Sauvignon Blanc vineyard last week – the photo above was taken on April 5 – with the vines awakening due to the soil warming to 57F, activating the roots to overcome the winter slumber and causing the buds to swell as the leaves emerge and new canes begin to form. This is just a few days earlier than average for this location in the Big Valley AVA.
As we’ve discussed in a previous blog (The 2021 Vintage so far – July 2021), the unique climate conditions in Lake County mean that the threat of damage from frost can occur in the Autumn, at the end of the growing season, as well as in the Spring, which is more typical in neighboring Napa and Sonoma counties. It is still too early to evaluate potential frost damage from last fall. So far, the early varieties like Sauvignon Blanc seem to be fine, but we will know a lot more in the next two weeks as the buds lengthen to 6-8” canes. If this growth isn’t happening in some sites, or on some cane extensions, then we’ll know that it is a result of the frost. However, the recent oscillation between warm and cold weather has been ideal. Think of this as a slow awakening, versus being woken up by a loud bang!
We may even get another 1/2-3/4” of rain in the coming week (April 10-17). In this period of extended drought that would be amazing for the ecology of the vineyard and for yields this year, which we estimate could be depressed by around 10-15% due to lack of rain from January – March.
Here we go! The 2022 growing season is underway.