What is Bud Break?
What is Bud Break?
After the pruning season, the vineyard moves on to the next vine-growing process which is called bud break. Bud break is the beginning of new shoots and leaves growing on vines and is an exciting time at the winery! The "bud" refers to everything that will become the new growth of the plant. This means the grapes and leaves will start to bud. After a season of dormancy, the vines usually start to grow in March and April before they are the full vines that we know and love.
Being in Texas, bud break can be experienced differently. Some vineyards will have a harsh winter and will either prolong the burst of buds or not grow at all. The first bud break signals to the winemakers how well this growing season will go. Whether it's late or early, bud break is a fascinating time at any winery.
Sometimes in Texas, we have warm days in the early spring (late February – to early March). When this happens it is possible to have an early bud break and then a freeze in mid to late March that can destroy the primary crop for that year. Some varieties can still have a secondary bud break but it is usually much less productive than the primary bud break (10% to 40% of normal crop load). Normally early spring freezes do not kill the vines. This, however, is possible if the freeze is severe (temperatures less than 15 degrees F.).
Bud break normally takes place here between early to mid-March. There will be small, green leaves budding out on pruned spears that begin to develop into shoots. Dormancy is over. These buds will develop into long shoots (3 to 5 feet or more). This year, however, bud break will be later than normal because of much colder days and nights in early to mid-March. We believe that bud break this year will occur around April 1. This is good news because the likelihood of a late freeze in April is much less than in March.
The vines will bloom in mid to late April. Bloom is when the small clusters shed their flowers and then develop into clusters of small grapes.
It's in the early Spring months that bud break occurs but it won't be until May or June before we see the full-spirited vines growing. Until then, there will be baby clusters of vines that are still just as cute to fawn over and encourage to grow.