Vineyard Update: Flowering and Fruit Set

Our 2020 growing season began with winter pruning in February and an early bud break that came with a brilliant mustard bloom in March. As winter moved into spring, the vineyards came alive with a new type of excitement: flowering and fruit set.

Flowering grapevine – May 2020

A grapevine is a hard-working plant and extremely self-sufficient. After bud break, the new season’s vine shoots begin to grow and form the small beginnings of what will become grape clusters. Flowering, which for us typically occurs in mid-April though early-May, is the process in which the clusters produce tiny flowers that bloom and pollinate the berry seeds. This self-fertilization leads to the production of berries, whose subsequent growth is called fruit set.

Sangiovese fruit set at Winston Hill – June 2020
Pinot Noir fruit set at Lewis Vineyard – June 2020

The transition from flowering to fruit set is a delicate process and a very important one. In June and July, young clusters begin to appear on our vines, starting with our Sangiovese at Winston Hill and Lewis Vineyard fruit followed by our later ripeners like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Opening up the vine canopies at Winston Hill – June 2020

A healthy fruit set is strongly affected by environmental conditions such as light intensity, heat, soil moisture, and pest control. For this reason, our vineyard team dedicates their time to providing special care and attention to our four estate vineyards particularly throughout the growing season. They spend weeks walking each parcel, clearing unwanted shoots and tying individual vines by hand to promote lateral shoot growth in the cluster zone. Although labor-intensive, this process is necessary in promoting even grape ripening and reducing excessive shading as the berries form. This essential human touch makes all the difference in our final product – the wine.