Frost Watch and Vineyard Care (April through May) The threat of frost has not departed with winter. Year-old cuttings can now be planted. The first buds start to open as leaves begin to develop along with the new growth. The soil is worked again and unwanted vegetation is removed.
The Flowering (June) & Vineyard Care (July) The vineyards are inspected, weeded, and sprayed, as weeds constantly compete with the grapevines for nutrients. The vines are again trimmed to encourage fruit production.
Véraison (August) T his is the beginning of the ripening phase. With harvest around the corner, sugar, pH, and acid levels are monitored closely. Grapes at this stage are very tart, from the high acid level. The acid will convert to sugar from contact with sunlight. Too much rain at this point will effect the flavor and quality of the grapes.
Harvest Preparation (mid-August through early September) Dry, sunny days are needed to insure a ripe and mature crop. The sugar, acidity, and pH levels of the grapes are monitored. A harvesting plan is drawn up, identifying which sections of the vineyards will be picked first.
Harvest (early September through mid-October) When the grapes contain proper sugar, acidity, and pH levels, the harvest begins. Unripe and damaged fruit is to be left on the vine. It will be picked at a later date. The fruit is then sent directly to the winery as quickly as possible to avoid any undesirable oxidation of the grape juice that can occur once it has been exposed to the air. Sulfur may be spread on the grapes to retard oxidation