As with many of life’s beautiful things, the journey of a grape is contingent upon change. And although dormancy is filled with quiet, dusky beauty, the winter months lead vintners and growers to the edge of their seats waiting for this moment in a vine’s annual cycle:
It’s an event that is almost more dramatic than the moment the grapes develop during fruit set, for budbreak marks the start of the new growing season. The sprightly sprigs of green (also known as “shoots”) that stem from the bud are the first peek at how 2014 will look, feel and, most importantly, taste.
The first signs of 2014 budbreak appeared on our Estate’s Faultline Vineyard the last week in February, following our tradition of buds breaking in early spring. It’s no surprise that these rows, situated just outside the Ram’s Gate Pavilion, are the first to sprout shoots: located at the top of our Carneros knoll, they are the most exposed to morning, afternoon and evening sunshine.
An early budbreak means exciting things for 2014, primarily that we are looking ahead to a long ripening season for fully matured Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache and Pinot Blanc. From here, Vineyard Manager Ned Hill and his outstanding team will be monitoring the young shoots’ growth, and in the coming months, we’ll be seeing flowering and fruit set.
In the meantime, we’re delighting in these signs of spring – of newness, growth and the millions of change-filled moments occurring just outside our Tasting Hall doors.