From Vine to Wine: Exploring a Grapevine's Journey Through the Seasons
Have you ever wondered what the process is to craft a grapevine into a flavourful wine? From budburst to veraison, discover the journey a grapevine undertakes through its seasons of growth and transformation.
The arrival of spring is a much-anticipated moment in the vineyard, as it marks the awakening of our vines from their winter slumber and the beginning of a new growing season. Sap rises from the roots of the vine and the first signs of new growth appear in the form of 'budburst'.
'Budburst' is where the vines burst forth with tiny, delicate buds that eventually transform into luscious grapes. These buds need to be protected from injury so that they can go on to create shoots and flowers. To protect these buds from the occasional threat of frost, we install Frost Fans. These devices tirelessly guard our precious vines, ensuring that they blossom and ripen without a hitch.
Did you know: The flowers of grapevines are called 'perfect flowers'. Meaning they pollinate themselves without the need for bees.
As summer unfolds, the vines bask in the summer sun, where the ripening berries become soft and fleshy. This period is known as 'veraison'. 'Veraison' involves physical and chemical changes to the grapes. The grapes transform from their initial green hue to vibrant shades of purple, red, and gold, along with lowered acidity, increased sugar content, and development of flavours.
During spring and summer, our sustainable vineyard practices welcome a unique set of team members: sheep. These woolly, eco-friendly landscapers graze among the vine rows, enhancing soil fertility with their natural droppings.
Harvest, also known as vintage, can commence as early as February and extend through to May, depending on the weather conditions. As the leaves turn into a tapestry of fiery reds and golden hues, the vineyard takes on a breathtaking beauty. It's during this time that the grapes reach their peak ripeness. They are carefully selected, sorted, and crushed in preparation for the upcoming fermentation process.
Timing is critical during the ongoing harvest. Picking the grapes too early risks bitter and underdeveloped tannins, while picking too late introduces the risk of rain and hail destroying the crop and the sugar levels becoming too high, resulting in an unbalanced wine.
During the winter, a blanket of snow envelops our vineyard, where the vines are hand-pruned and slowly return to their dormant state. This is the season when the vines take a well-deserved rest, gathering energy for the cycle to repeat itself in the coming spring. Though the grapevines are typically dormant during the winter months, pruning at this time is essential. Trimming last year's growth and selecting the best canes are important steps in shaping the vine's future success.
While our vines rest, behind the scenes, our skilled winemakers shift their attention to the wines gracefully aging in barrels. The winemakers tend to these barrels with the same care that the vines received during their active seasons, ensuring that the final product embodies the vineyard's unique character and the changing seasons it has seen throughout the year. It's in the winery that the magic of winemaking takes place, transforming the fruits of each season into wines that bring joy and delight to wine lovers around the world.