We are almost through bloom now. It began very early, then the weather cooled and slowed things down a bit, though we are still ahead of 2015 this year but not by much.
From the looks of the flowering and the weather I am guessing that set will be excellent in 2016. I’ll know more in ten days or so.
Flower clusters in most varieties are much larger in 2016 than I have seen in the past and cluster counts are high so we should have good yields. Again, I will know more after set. The exception is in the Phelps Syrah, which appears to have a lower cluster count. I will make cluster counts within the next few weeks so I can be more accurate in predicting yields.
Shoot growth slowed down during bloom due to a cool down period, but has picked up again. Leaf color also looks good. All this tells me the vines are in good shape for this point in time.
We still have a lot of work to do in canopy management as we are still working on cordon suckering. The suckering process has taken much longer this year because most of the primary, secondary and tertiary shoots have pushed, coupled with very early and rapid growth. (Every bud we see on a cane really has three growing points and in most years it’s mainly the primary bud that grows and some percentage of the secondary buds. When we sucker the cordon we usually take off the secondary shoots that have grown leaving only the primary shoots.) This year, however, a high percentage of all three growing points pushed. Removing so many secondary and tertiary shoots has added a great deal of time to suckering and shoot selection on the cordon. We will now also begin to position shoots into the vertical wires.
For more information, view photos of the vineyard this spring. Dates for bloom by block are also available.