Though bud break this year was earlier than 2019, bloom was later than 2019 due to cold, rainy weather that started in mid-May and persisted through mid-June. In fact, we are receiving our first warm days of the year this week. Yesterday was about 90 degrees.
In a week I will report on fruit set. I am sure that there will be some shatter due to the weather we had during bloom. I like to see a little shatter because these berries fall off the clusters, and it opens up the vine to more sunlight and better coloring of the fruit.
The vineyard looks excellent at present. We are ahead of schedule on leafing, along with our second pass of cordon suckering. Whenever possible, we want to have the leafing complete before the berries become large — my preference is by the times berries are pea-sized. This allows the berries to acclimate to the sun and heat resulting in thicker skins that are more resistant to burn later in the season. When leafing is carried out too late and the berries are large, the fruit is more susceptible to sunburn and heat stress.
Another important tool that we have to create better fruit quality at this time is to minimize the vigor of the vine. Around the time when the berries are pea-sized. they are going through rapid cell division. If we can limit the total number of cells in the berries, we can keep berry size down; and smaller berries typically make better wines.