Mother Nature always keeps us on our toes. For a second consecutive year, we’ve experienced a long, cool spring. This weather not only prolongs the growing season, but can also affect flowering in late May/early June–if rain, wind or cold weather prevails during the flowering period. Flowering, also known as bloom, is the most critical time of the growing season. Rain at bloom can have a far more negative influence on a grapevine than rain at harvest. As Winemaker Rob Davis likes to say, “The harvest is the mirror of the spring.” Grape intensity and balance are set in the spring with bloom (and the accompanying self-pollination and fertilization).
When inclement weather hits while the grapevines are blooming, it affects the number of grape flowers that can turn into berries. Due to recent weather patterns, we’re seeing that the grapevines have produced up to 30 percent less of berries in some blocks of the Jordan Estate and grower vineyards.
Watch this video to see flowering and fruit set of a grapevine during spring, as well as learn more about the 2011 growing season.
You’ll find many reports online about how the cool spring is influencing the 2011 vintage. In challenging years like these, Rob’s experience and deep knowledge of the farming for quality ensure we know how best to approach the summer vineyard practices, such as leafing and veraison thinning, to ensure the vineyards’ grapes grow into balance before the harvest season. We’ve been very pleased with the we warm weather since mid-June and have already begun leafing Cabernet Sauvignon on the estate. Harvest for Bordeaux varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, is currently expected about two weeks behind schedule (mid- to late September/October).
Thanks to our friend Ward, @drXeNo on Twitter, for suggesting this video topic.