Buds Broke

Let the Countdown Begin

According to winemaker Aaron Pott, who has worked in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa, the growing season, almost invariably, is 220 days from bud break to harvest. That means the clock has started ticking and it’s time for some good old-fashioned heat and sunshine. Pott, who has noticed a climatic pattern toward later bud break over the past several years believes we are right on schedule. While the last week of cloudy days and intermittent showers isn’t ideal, he isn’t worried.

In the Russian River where, according to Adrian Manspeaker, the winemaker for Joseph Jewell, a dry winter led to even earlier bud break than usual for his already early budding pinot noir and chardonnay.

“We had bud break in Shiloh Hill Vineyard about three weeks ago,” says Manspeaker. And now with this relatively late-spring rain, the tender young shoots are crying out for sun. ”The vines are now lacking the sunlight they need to photosynthesize, due to the cloud cover. This has translated into just two inches of growth at Shiloh Hill Vineyard in three weeks” — behind what it was last year. “I didn’t think that was possible,” says Manspeaker.

But all in all, he isn’t too worried: “It won’t cause a huge problem at this stage in the season and things can catch up quickly with a few warm sunny days.”

The forecast for the next 10 days includes only the most scattered clouds, so we should be well on our way. Start counting the days.