Flowering in the vineyard is such a wonderful time, it can bring a lot of stress and worry, with one eye constantly on the weather but once it is complete we can finally see just how much fruit we will have this year.
Sure we can do bud counts at pruning, shoot counts early in the season, and inflorescence counts once the flowers are visible but it’s not until the vine has actually set its fruit for the year that we can get a true idea of that years crop.
The weather at flowering is critical to production in vineyards, and luckily this year it’s been pretty good. June, although warm was fairly ordinary with rain regularly throughout the month, in fact we had 18 days of rain. By chance the rain stopped just in time for the beginning of flowering. So far most varieties and blocks are well into flowering with some near completion.
So what does flowering in a vineyard look like?
A bit like this…
The grapevine won’t win any prizes for beauty.
Grapevines are self pollinated so we don’t need to have a pollinator like apples and plums, or male and female plants like Kiwifruit and Pistachio. Grapevines are doing it all themselves, much like a tomato.
The reason we need warm dry weather during flowering is to help pollen germination and help the cap fall – the little brown bit! Cool, overcast and rainy conditions prolong the time over which flowering will occur, and can cause the caps to “stick” which causes both disease and poor fruit set.
We just need a few more nice fine days to get us through and we’ll be set up for a good crop.