Flowering is one of the most important and delicate stages in the vine’s growth cycle. It’s the time in which the embryonic flowers start to emerge: small, white flowers that are pollinated by the wind and by the actions of insects, before giving way to the first grape clusters.
The success of the flowering process depends largely on the weather conditions during the flowering period. We all hope for “healthy days”, in which the weather remains fine and stable.
The flowering process will also determine how many grapes will form part of each cluster, and therefore how many clusters the vine will produce and what the vineyard’s overall yield will be. Flowering is key to judging the quantity, and also (to a certain extent) the quality, of the next harvest.
When the vines start budding, tiny bunch-like formations appear alongside the vine leaves. As the cycle progresses, these “micro-bunches” are joined by little ball-shaped protuberances which people often mistake for small grapes. The micro-bunches are called “inflorescences”, or flower clusters, while the ball-shapes are called “flower buds”. The flower buds go on to develop into small flowers, with both male and female parts: following their fertilization, the grapes then begin to grow, in a process known as “fruit setting”.
flower buds opened flower buds
Our vineyards are located at altitudes of between 420 and 770 metres. At different altitudes, vines react very differently to rain and temperature changes, which is why we have divided our vineyards into three general zones: the sierra, or mountain zone; the comarca, or lowland zone; and the ribera, or riverside zone.
Currently, in theriberazone, which sits at the lowest altitude, almost all of the flower buds have opened and fruit setting has begun. In the comarca, around 80% of the flower buds have opened, while in the sierrathis figure falls to approximately 50%.
Because of the harsh winter and cool, rainy spring we’ve experienced this year, the flowering process was delayed by between two and three weeks, in comparison to the average start-date in previous years.
Consequently, we’re keeping a very close eye on how the flowering process develops and performing regular checks in order to make sure the process reaches a successful conclusion and that the fruit setting occurs as desired.