Fog Crest Vineyard
June 12, 2017 | Fog Crest Vineyard

Fruit Set in the Vineyard

Fruit Set at Fog Crest Vineyard

As the end of Spring turns to the beginning of Summer, our vineyard moves on to the next stage of it’s annual growth cycle - fruit set. This is the time when the fertilized flower begins to develop a seed and the grape berry to protect the seed, and we begin to see what looks like teeny tiny grape clusters.

Not every flower gets fertilized, though, and those that don’t, end up falling off the vine, leaving the remaining berries to be the beneficiaries of the vine’s energy and nutrition. The typical percentage of flowers that turn to berries differs from grape variety to variety and even from clone to clone. Overall climate and varying weather patterns can play a role in the percentage of berries produced on each vine. Shatter can occur during the flowering stage, brought on by erratic weather conditions like extreme temperatures, rain or wind, and can end the clusters’ ability to fully develop.

The berries that develop, green and hard and with very little sugar, will continue to grow through summer until they reach about half their final size. During this time, June, July and August, the leaf canopy needs to be balanced between sun protection and air flow so the grapes can develop properly. As the season advances, the milestone following berry set is called “aoutement”, in French, or “cane hardening”. This is the time when the canes transfer carbohydrate production to their reserves instead of growth. The canes will turn from green and flexible to brown and woody, and the grapes will begin to ripen.

After a few weeks they will ripen enough to soften and turn color which ushers in veraison. This final milestone in the vineyard’s growth cycle, before harvest, is one of the most beautiful and enchanting periods….get your camera’s ready…..


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