Plants follow a seasonal cycle: growing, slowing, and hibernating in tandem with spring, summer, fall, and winter. The vines for our wine are no different, and we love to celebrate the big milestones in our vines’ annual lifecycles. The first important step? Bud break!
You know how spring always seems to arrive overnight? You go to bed and the trees are bare; you wake up and find buds on all the trees you can see? That’s bud break. “Bud break” is when buds break forth from their protective covering along branches or stems thanks to a swell of nutrients and water from growing roots.
Plant cycles are stimulated by the weather. As temperatures rise in the spring, the soil thaws, and water is pulled up through the root system: a process called osmosis. Necessary minerals, nutrients, hormones, and natural sugars are distributed through the plant and begin to swell the buds. When ready, the bud will burst from beneath the protective bark of the tree.
If the vines were pruned over the winter, water from the soil will be expelled through the cuts: called “bleeding”. We can tell when bud break is coming based on when the vines begin to bleed nutrient-rich sap.
Bud break is a cause for celebration at Beliveau Farms. When we see the buds breaking out of the vines, it means spring is finally here. These little buds are the first step for the grapes; everything that comes from the vine–the leaves, the flower, and the fruit–all start from that small little bud.
Because these buds are the start of everything, bud break is a critical time for vine care. For example, we can tell how a crop will do based on bud break. An early bud break is usually a bad sign: these fragile little buds are defenseless against frost damage from the cold days still to come, and can result in a loss of valuable crop.
Bud break is also when we focus on preventative care. Bacteria, fungi, plant pathogens, and harmful pests all love the warm weather as much as we do, and they find vulnerable bud tissue particularly appetizing. Preventative care is important for disease management and pest control, and helps keep the vines healthy throughout their growing season. We begin tending to the vines the moment those buds break free in order to prevent long-term damage to our crops.
One of the best parts about wine-making is being able to watch these tiny little buds grow into a juicy bunch of grapes. We have the privilege of tending the vines and grapes from start to finish; it’s so exciting to see the buds burst forth and know that, in just a few months, we’ll have a new batch of delicious grapes to be made into delicious wine.
No matter the season, come to our winery and learn all about the grape-growing and wine-making processes, from bud break to the perfect pour. Picnic among the vines, enjoy a tasting at the bar, and spend time with family & friends. We’ve got something for everyone at Beliveau Farms!