Vineyard Report: Eraser Tips and Early Bud Breaks

The vines are waking and early budding vines are beginning to show themselves across the region.

Eric Pooler, the winegrower for Boisset Family Estates says he’s seen consistent bud break (which he further clarifies as “differentiated leaves”) on hillside, cane-pruned chardonnay on Raymond vineyards in Jameson Canyon. Located near American Canyon and just a few miles from San Pablo Bay, Jameson Canyon is among the coolest regions in Napa Valley, but the low mean day-time temps are tempered by moderate and relatively high nighttime temps. “The end result,” says Pooler, “is an early bud-break followed by long growing season — 220 days on average. The temperature buffer provided by the maritime climate also limits our concerns regarding frost damage.”

In Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, the DeLoach estate vineyard vines are at the “full eraser tip” stage, says Pooler, using the term “eraser tip to describe to describe broken, elongated buds that have yet to differentiate leaves. He expects to see bud-break in both the pinot noir and chardonnay within the next three days.

Grgich Hills chardonnay bud break in American Canyon

Click to enlarge: Bud Break in American Canyon (courtesy Grgich Hills Estate)

At the Raymond property in Rutherford in the heart of Napa on the valley floor, Pooler expects to see bud break in the Bordeaux varietals at about mid-month.

And into American Canyon Grgich Hills is also reporting full bud break on its chardonnay vines.

And word from points north is that while there may not be any eraser tips as of yet, there is some swelling. Tegan Passalaqua, winemaker for Turley Wine Cellars and vineyard prospecter extraordinaire says, “as of yesterday the carignane in our Geyserville Vineyard has started to swell.”