Chapter 1

Annual Growth Cycle of the Grapevine

(book excerpts)

Grapevines are long-lived deciduous plants that have long been cultivated for the production of wine. The annual growth cycle of the grapevine involves many processes and events in the vineyard each year. From a winemaking perspective, each step in the process plays a vital role in the development of grapes with ideal characteristics for making wine. Annual growth of grapevines is frequently described using the following stages: (1) budburst, (2) flower cluster initiation, (3) flowering, (4) fruit set, (5) berry development, (6) harvest, and (7) dormancy. The passing of each event announces the beginning of a new stage in the vineyard management cycle. The timing and duration of events are subject to variations due to the grape variety, local climate, and seasonal weather, but the sequence of events remains constant. It is recognized that many of these events overlap others for a period of time, requiring the vine to allocate its resources among competing activities. From a husbandry viewpoint, knowledge of a plant’s growth stages is advantageous as cultural and chemical practices can be applied at optimum times in a plant’s annual growth cycle. Additionally, information regarding growth stages can be useful in estimating crop yields.

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