The growing cycle
of the vine
Winter: from November to February the vine is in a dormant state, and the sap is not circulating in the plant. It’s at this time that the vine is pruned. The vigneron then removes shoots and selects buds which will develop the fruiting branches the following year. Vines can endure low temperatures, but below –17°C they can be damaged. It’s not unusual to see vines ‘weeping’ because sap oozes from the cuts made by pruning.
Spring: the buds form in March and April. Temperatures increase and the sap begins to rise, new buds and shoots appear. In May and June small flowers appear resembling the eventual bunches of grapes.
Summer: In July the foliage increases and the flowers are transformed into tiny grapes – the nouaison or setting of berries. In August the grapes begin to swell and ripen, acquiring some colour but not uniformly. This phase is known as the véraison. The grapes become less acid, with more sugar.
Autumn: September and October are the period of the vendange or harvest, which may be done either manually or by special machines. Machines separate the grapes from their stems, and these stems remain on the branches: they are easy to see at the end of the season when the leaves change colour – the colour depends in each case on the grape variety – and then fall.