In early spring, the buds begin to swell and budbreak occurs. After budbreak, the green shoots grow very rapidly. This surge in growth requires careful training in order to focus and direct the growth of the vines. For mature vines, the unwanted green shoots are removed, a process called suckering. For young vines, the focus is on growth and the strongest shoots are trained up the stake and out onto the trellis wires.
Harvest begins when the sugar content of the
grapes reaches the desired level. It is important
that the grapes have reached an optimum sugar and
acid concentration, essential for the production
of a well-balanced wine.
Grapes are picked either by machine or by
hand and delivered to the winery, where
they are dumped from the truck's gondola
into the winery crusher.
Veraison, the softening of the fruit
and beginning of rapid sugar
accumulation, occurs. The timing
of irrigations is critical to create
pre-veraison stress, which
concentrates color and flavor.
Tucked away in the vine canopies are
developing clusters with hundreds of
miniature flower buds. Pollination of the
flowers is a process called "fruit set".
Once fruit set has occurred, measures are taken
to achieve an optimal fruit-to-canopy balance.
Leaf removal and vine trimming are
performed as necessary to increase
sun exposure to the fruit.
The vine canopies are managed to optimize
sun penetration onto the fruit. This allows
for even maturing of the grapes and the
concentration and enhancement of varietal
characteristics. Leading into harvest, the
maturity and sugar levels of the grapes
are carefully monitored.
Pruning takes place when the vines are dormant,
sometime between December and March.
Skillful pruning and shaping is critical to
properly position fruitful buds onto the trellis
system and provide the opportunity for
balanced production on each vine.
The winter season is also the time for
preparing new vineyards for planting.
Deep-ripping of the soil, pre-plant
cultivation, and installation of the irrigation
and trellis systems are accomplished.
Grapes are crushed, pressed,
and fermented to become wine.
The wine is aged
and then bottled.
New vineyards are planted with dormant rootstock. In the second year,
the rootstock will be grafted to the desired grape variety.