Vines, after giving their precious fruits to wine lovers in autumn, collect enough food for next season, drop its leaves and go to sleep. They are dormant all winter long. When the spring comes, the buds start to swell and get ready to break. Bud break (also known as budburst) is the time when the vines start to wake up from their winter dormancy.
Unlike some plants and trees that buds and flowers as soon as we have some heat, the vines don’t rush into awaking. They remain dormant until enough heat is accumulated in the environment. This is an advantage for the vines, it protects them from the early spring frosts. Apart from heat accumulation, there are many other factors that affect the date of bud break: variety of the vine and rootstock, type of the soil, water availability in the soil and date of pruning are the ones on top of the list. All these factors interact with each other to set the date of the bud break.
Once all the conditions are met, the vines start their bud break. This is such an incredible transformation. The tiny buds swell, and they start to look wooly. Soon after you can start seeing a tiny leaf start to fold out. The other tiny leaves follow the first one, and here we go!
When I was a viticulture and enology student in Montpellier SupAgro (France), I had the chance to witness the bud break at the experimental vineyard of my school, back in April 2013. I’ve chosen four different plants and focused on a specific part of the cane with one to three buds. I visited those plants daily for eight days, starting from April 8th.
The first days, finding the same buds was easy, however as their transformation became faster, I had a hard time recognizing them. Every day, I was examining them and taking a photo. Some days it was surprising to see how much they grew. When I stopped following them on April 15th they were already stunning with their shiny little green leaves.
Along the spring, the vines will continue with their leaf and shoot growth and follow the rest of the phenological stages with order, flowering, fruit set, veraison and ripening.
I am happy to share with you the daily photos I took during bud break of the vines.
All images © 2017 by Wines of Nesli. All rights reserved.