LIFE CYCLE OF THE VINE
Winter pruning – This is one of the most skilled and important practices done in the vineyards. Winter pruning helps to guide the vine in certain directions for practical and yield purposes. The prior year’s canes are cut back and the new, best canes are chosen to grow new shoots for the next harvest. Vines are cut and trained in such a way as to control the vigorous growth of the vine, as is a common issue with some Cabernet vineyards.
Spring Budding –Bud break occurs during the September/October months and the buds are extremely fragile during this period.
Spring Green Shoot to Flowering – At this stage the buds continue to grow and the vines begin to produce flowers. These tiny flowers are tightly bunched and each flower has the potential to produce a single grape berry.
Berry / fruit growth – Flowers of the vine are self-pollinating. The flowers begin to drop their tiny petals and little sphere shaped berries start to appear. As they grow, the familiar grape bunches begin to form. After some time, crop thinning will occur. This is a process by which uneven, and under-developing grape bunches will be cut so as to allow for more even growth of the vine.
Summer Veraison – At this stage the grapes begin to ripen and change colour. It is a beautiful time in the vineyards as one can see the changing colours as the grape ripens from green to a beautiful red and purple colour.
Harvest – In tandem with wood growth, the grapes begin to ripen to their pinnacle point. Harvest is an extremely important part of the entire process as this is when the grapes are identified and picked according to the correct sugar levels and ripeness required by the winemaker. Once picked the grapes do not continue to ripen.
From here the grapes are taken to the cellar and so begins the winemaking phase.