Howdy, Howdy and Hello

I hope all of you have been enjoying Clint Messimer’s posts regarding the growth cycle of a grape cluster last week and yesterday as much as I have. Clint, our vineyard manager extraordinaire, has an incredible ability to explain the intricacy of his craft in words we all understand.

So, today I thought it might be fun to look a little deeper into fruit set. Last week, Clint talked about bloom (or flowering), and the cluster (its inflorescence) that contain hundreds of blooms. Many of the flowers fall off the cluster without being pollinated, and this is called “shatter”.

Fruit set occurs after shatter when the remaining flowers pollinate themselves (grapevines are hermaphrodites) and become tiny grapes. Shatter is how the cluster prunes itself to control its yield.

Fruit set can be measured quantitatively as the percentage of flowers that turn into grapes. Average fruit set is typically between 30 to 50 percent. Normal fruit set, however, varies from one grape variety to another. For example, normal fruit set for Cabernet Sauvignon can be as low as 20%. The success of fruit set can be more easily measured by how complete (compact) the clusters are when the grapes reach full size.

Once fruit set is complete, the grapes will grow for the next two months or so until they reach full size, sometime in early to mid July at GCV. At this point, cell division will stop and they will begin to ripen. Ripening begins with color change, called veraison.

Next week, we’ll take a look at the lovely new 2018 Viognier, but before I say Happy Trails, I want to thank Clint for taking time out from a very busy time of year for him to share his expertise in words and photos. Those of you that have seen our vines know what incredibly beautiful magic he creates…