Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Cap Fall and Flowering



Vines have flower clusters with several individual blossoms that form a closed “cap”. The cap falls off during blossoming and the individual flowers appear. Measurement of the blossoming period begins when about 25% of the caps have fallen off. It can then take 5-10 days for the majority of them to fall off, depending on the weather. This normally happens around Wimbledon fortnight but is a little early this year because of the warm Spring. Generally good weather at Wimbledon indicates a good harvest!

The flower clusters of grapevines are quite inconspicuous. They are panicles (loose, irregularly branched flower clusters) with individual flowers, or blossoms, on the end of each branch. If successfully fertilised, these blossoms develop into grapes. Grapevines self-pollinate and are therefore not reliant on outside help from insects or animals. The overall number of clusters provides an early estimate of potential yield.  This is currently looking good on our vineyard, especially for the Seyval and Pinot Noir.

A lot can happen between now and harvest to effect the yield with disease being the biggest risk, especially in an organic vineyard. Birds are also a worry. Also Alex and John Buchan are keen to reduce the number of bunches to encourage root growth and the strength of the plant for next year. We have agreed to leave two bunches per shoot on the majority of the vines but only one bunch on the Pinot Noir that will be used to make the still Rose to encourage ripeness (less important for the bubbly).

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