Wine Trivia Tuesday | BUD BREAK
Spring has just graced us with its presence and along with this time of year here in South Africa the beginning of a new start to the wine season begins in the vineyards. This being 'Bud Break'.
*Image credit: Riana van der Merwe, winemaker at Seven Springs Vineyards
Bud break represents the start of the new growing seasons for vineyards around the world. Here in South Africa (and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere) this time of year is around September when Spring lures warmer, sunnier days towards our Cape wine lands. After spending a few months in a form of hibernation after harvest, the vines begin stretching their metaphorical arms and legs, so to speak, readying themselves for a new season of growth.
During bud break the first leaves can be seen slowly sprouting from vineyards. It's a really beautiful time of year due to the bare vines bursting with green life, and over time changing from a brown/grey color to green, which something to behold.
For viticulturists and winemakers this is the beginning of many hours in the vineyards, monitoring vines for disease and pests which come looking for food from the vines. It's very important to make sure the vine's growth from this early phase is of optimal importance for the final winemaking process as it will directly affect the quality of the grapes once harvested from the beginning of around January the following year.
What is interesting to note about the onset of bud break is that a winemaker can pick this up by noticing a bleeding of a vine. What this means is that as the days become warmer, moisture from the soil is pushed up into the root system of the vines and through the plant itself. At the cuts where the vines were pruned before winter the plant will ooze small amounts of water. From here the plant receives nourishment from the water and begins growing, causing little leaves to begin forming (which is the onset of bud break itself).
So as you're sitting in your office right now, or sipping on a coffee between meetings, be mindful of the fact that a quiet little process is taking place down in the Cape wine lands as we speak, heralding the beginning of a much anticipated 2018 vintage.