June 2010 – Baby grapes

June is when things start happening and the vines start getting busy. New shoots are growing fast. What were once deserted rows of twisted brown and grey wood clinging to wires are now bristling with freshly grown leaves, ready to take in all the sunshine. It is from the sun that the sugar comes and enters into each grape, which will eventually be turned into alcohol.

New shoots are growing quickly now on these vines at Road 13.

Because the sugar comes down the shoot from the leaves, some quality conscious producers will do something called green harvesting – they will remove any clusters of grapes located high on each shoot leaving only the lowest cluster of grapes. This cluster will then receive all of the sugar produced by the leaves on that one shoot instead of having to share it with any other clusters.

Lots of new green at this time of year.

This also reduces the over-all yield of the vineyard, sometimes by a lot. That’s one of the biggest choices that winemakers and grape growers have to make. For example, reducing the yield by green harvesting to 2 tons per acre means that all that sugar and flavour is going into a very small amount of grapes. That means they will get very concentrated wines but won’t have very much of it to sell. The flip side of that is to try to get a lot of grapes without green harvesting (roughly 6 tons per acre or more). In this situation, the sugars are spread out over more grapes resulting in less concentration and less flavour, but more wine to bottle.

Baby grapes: These tiny clusters will become flowers and then grapes.

Supply and demand then dictate how much each bottle of wine will cost. That’s why some producers have to charge more because they have less wine and need to make up the costs of producing it. Others can charge less because they have more of it to sell. It’s all a part of the many complicated choices that have to be made by wine producers everywhere.

2 thoughts on “June 2010 – Baby grapes

  1. Great site. Keep the pictures and details comming. Nice to be able to see what stage the grape vines are at on a certain date in the Okanagan.
    Thank!!

    • Thanks, Kelly. Glad you like the photos. I plan on documenting each growing season for as long as possible.

      Love your blog, btw! Very interested in what you are doing there and your article on the CIC wines was great. I had no idea that this path had been tread upon before in the diamond industry.

      Luke

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