Now that we have seen off (most of) the frosts which can lay waste to tender buds and/or shoots, our next major phase is flowering and fruit set. This is one of the most important windows in the growing season as the rate of success literally dictates the total crop potential for that season. At this point our bunches are yet to flower and are about two to four weeks away from commencing. The photo on the left was as of last Saturday (12/11/11) and the photo on the right is archival and for illustration of where were headed.
The most important factor for this phase is unsurprisingly, the weather. Stable weather patterns in the form of warm, breezy days are ideal as the grape flowers are fragile and are susceptible to cold weather, rain, hail or high wind. These factors either independently or in unison can see a reduction in crop level or at worst, see it decimated. An example of this reduction was the 2009 vintage, with heavy rain at flowering seeing a 60% loss in crop. This didn’t impact on the quality of the harvest just it’s quantity, but it’s hard to digest when all you can do is look on. Nature is both creator and destroyer and will always dictate the ultimate terms of our trade. Wisdom suggests that we put all our efforts into what we can control and accept what we cannot. That’s grow business!