Spring update: how the vineyard is doing?

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Vineyard spring

 

Spring at the vineyard

Spring is my favourite season. I love seeing how nature comes to live again after wintertime. Warm glints of sunlight wake up the ladybirds who were hibernating in our house at the vineyard. Green leaves start sprouting and you’ll see bees and butterflies. White and pink flowers from the blossoming fruit trees decorate the vineyard. Tiny little grapes start growing.. Or not?

 

Ladybirds hybernating

I found these little fellas everywhere in the house.

 

This vintage

In my last post, I already told how the vines got sick last year. Zvonko prepared us that this year’s harvest could also be very minimal. We had to wait and see what this year would bring.

This spring, we have been to the vineyard in March and May. The first time was early in the season, bud break was just around the corner. By then, we couldn’t really tell whether the vines were developing as they should be.

 

Almost bud break

The end of March: almost bud break!

 

No wine – again!

In May, I was looking forward to visit the vineyard. I knew we would find out whether there would be anything to harvest at the end of the season. Exciting! Sadly enough, our vines looked quite pathetic compared to the vines of the neighbouring vineyards. I was able to find some little grapes every here and there, but again, we won’t have a proper harvast. 🙁

Our crucial mistake last year was leaving the vineyard for a month or two without someone looking after it. Nowadays, we’ve made some arrangements: when we are in the Netherlands, there are people who will check the vineyard every now and then.

 

Vineyard
Vineyard

These photos are taken in May: on the second photo you see at the left the vines of our neighbour, and at the right ours. Such a difference…

 

Why we won’t have grapes this year

At first sight, it may sound a bit weird, a vines that have no grapes this year because they got sick last year. If you know a bit about the developmental process of the grapes, you will understand why this is the case.

Each year, a vine has two branches that carry the grapes. By pruning, the other shoots are removed, with the exception of two or three new shoots without grapes. These new shoots will carry grapes the next year. Grapes are not formed on new shoots, but on one-year old branches. This is why diseases not only can whipe out a complete vintage, but also the vintage of the next year. The branches that should have carried grapes in their second year, got sick in their first year and have not been able to develop properly.

 

Unpruned vs pruned vine

Unpruned versus pruned vine

 

From grape to bottle

Although this will be another wineless vintage for us, we have good hope for next year. As you can see on the photo’s above, our vines may not carry grapes, but they do have healthy, green shoots that will carry grapes the following year. Of course, a lot can happen in one year – as we have experienced firsthand – but if things are going well, we will have grapes next year. When we bought the vineyard, we did not know anything about vinification, the process of winemaking. Although we still do not know anything about making wine, we did learn a lot about growing grapes – how to do it, and in particular, how not to do it.

Often, I have been in a liquor store, staring at the shelves and trying to decide which wine would be the best match with the food we would have. Although I did knew how wine was made, until now, I have never fully realised how much work has been done before the bottle in my hand was filled with wine. There are so many factors to take into account.

At the vineyard, a (wine)world opened up to me! The more I learn about wine, the more enthusiastic I get about it. The wine industry definitely got me! I truly hope that I in the future, I will be able to give more positive vineyard updates. How well the grapes are doing, instead of not having any. 😉

 

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