The Life of a Wine Grape

The Life of a Wine Grape

Tending to a vineyard is a year-round affair. In order to be successful and get the best yield from their grape crops, vineyards typically follow in strict accordance with the life cycle of wine grapes. From winter dormancy to harvesting, the wine grape takes several months to mature and be ready for use in any wine, whether it be a red wine or a white wine. Here is a rundown as to the life of a wine grape in the Northern Hemisphere.

During the winter months, after the crops have been harvested, the weather gets cold and the grape plants enjoy their winter dormancy.

During the very early parts of spring or the later portions of the winter, grapevines must be pruned to prepare them for the next harvest.

Bud Break
As the temperatures begin to rise and spring arrives, grape vines will begin to experience bud break, when the initial growth begins. This can happen anywhere between March and April in most countries. Because it is still early spring, crops are fragile and can be greatly affected by frost.

Approximately two months after bud break, the grapes will begin to produce small clusters of flowers, which are then fertilized and leads the grape into the stage of fruit set.

Fruit Set
The seed and the grape itself begins to grow during the stage of fruit set.

As the grapes begin to grow and ripen, they will begin to change colors dependent upon their grape variety. Purple grapes will change from green, while green grapes will change from yellow. This process of ripening happens typically throughout the summer months of June and July.

Around the early fall months, anywhere between August through October, vineyards begin to harvest their grape crops. Vineyard owners will decide when it is time to harvest, as factors such as weather and grey rot need to be considered.

After harvest, the very first frost helps with the fall off of the vine leaves and leads the plants back into their winter dormancy until they are pruned again in the late winter months in preparation of the follow year’s crop.

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