The wine growing season, also known as the "vineyard cycle," begins in the late winter or early spring with the bud break. This is when the grapevine starts to grow new shoots and leaves, signaling the start of the growing season.
During the spring and early summer, the vine focuses on vegetative growth, as the shoots and leaves mature and the grape clusters start to form. This period is known as the "growing season," and it's when the vine needs the most attention from the grower.
Summer is the time when the grapes start to ripen and change color, a process known as "veraison." The grower will monitor the grapes closely during this time to ensure that they are ripening evenly and to determine the optimal time for harvest.
The exact timing of harvest depends on the grape variety and the winemaker's desired style of wine. Red grapes, which require a longer ripening period than whites, are usually harvested later. Some winemakers may also choose to delay harvest to allow the grapes to reach a higher level of ripeness, leading to more complex and nuanced wines.
Once the grapes have been harvested, the vine enters a period of dormancy known as the "off-season." During this time, the vine's energy is directed toward root growth, and it's when the vine is pruned and prepared for the next growing season.
Winegrowing is a delicate balance of science and art, with the final product being a reflection of the vineyard conditions, winemaker choices and even weather during the growing season. Each year is unique and the growing season will be heavily influenced by weather conditions and global climate change, which will have an impact on the timing of the vineyard cycle, the health and ripeness of the grapes, and ultimately the quality of the wine.