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Monday, July 13, 2015

The wine grape life cycle

An often asked question is around the seasonal cycle of wine grapes, such as, "When do you harvest?" or "What's that person doing in the vineyards today?" 

Think of the growth cycle for grapes as being similar to other fruits. An apple tree's cycle is: bud break in spring, leafing, flowering, little apples turn into big, sweet apples in the summer, and you pick them late summer to early autumn when they're fully ripe. Ripeness in apples means a good sugar /acid balance for eating or cooking. It's basically the same for grapes.

Here's a easy-to-understand explanation from the Napa Valley Vintners. 

Mid-July in Sonoma Valley. A heavy crop!
Currently, as this is published in mid-July, we're in the crop thinning to veraison stages. So if you see someone in the vineyards today they are probably thinning the crop, just like you might do with a backyard apple tree that has too much fruit on one or more branches.