A Bloomin’ Good Year
It is spring and the grape clusters are in bloom. You probably haven’t noticed this though, as the flowers are tiny, possibly a millimeter or two in diameter. To see them, you would need to walk right up to the vine and look in the lower portions of the canopy for small, bright yellow, bottle-brush looking blooms. While not very good material for a floral arrangement, these tiny flowers are key to a successful harvest.
The unique thing about most grapes used for making wine is that they are-scientifc terms alert- monoecious, in that each single flower has both male (stamen) and female (pistol) parts. Yes, monoecious is the plant version of a hermaphrodite. What this means is that wine grapes are self-pollinating, no need for bees or any other insect vector to rely on for pollination.
Bloom is another critical time in the vineyard. If the weather is severe- too much rain, cold, heavy winds, the self-pollination is affected resulting in poor fruit set- uneven berry size. Bloom also gives us an indication of the health of the vineyard. Looking at a shoot, there is a blooming cluster on one side and a leaf on the other side. We take the petiole (stem) of that leaf and analyze it to see what macro and micronutrients might be missing from the vine so that we may make any adjustments to maximize the health of the vineyard. We take a sample of 100 petioles per block, a block being 2 acres, to get an accurate picture of the health of the vines.
At Naggiar, most of the varietals have reached what we call 100% bloom. Sangiovese usually leads the charge and Mourvedre brings up the rear. We’re just waiting on the Mourvedre…