• Flowering in the vines at last

Spotted yesterday on our Cabernet Franc vines in the front garden – the first signs of flowering. At last – after all the recent bad weather and a distinct lack of sunshine we thought it would never happen. Flowering is an important stage in the life cycle of the vine and weather conditions during this time will have an impact upon the quality of the bunches that follow. In an ideal world we hope for warm sunny days and a light breeze.  This enables the little caps that hold in the stamen to be gently blown off allowing them to spring apart and sprinkle their pollen. Vines are self-pollinating so they don’t need birds and bees to do the job for them although they help them along the way.

If weather conditions are poor and conditions wet then the little caps that hold the stamen together remain stuck and this can lead to uneven fruit set. This was the case in 2012 and unfortunately we are having lots of rain this year too so fingers crossed that things improve.

It’s very easy to walk past a vineyard and not even notice the vines in flower.  If you spot vines flowering then do stop and take a look and more importantly, get up really close and enjoy the beautiful scent. It’s delicate but wonderful.

And now we count 100 days until we can begin to think about picking the grapes (around the beginning of October).  It’s going to be tough to get those Cabernet Franc grapes rich and ripe this year so we’ll be banking on a  late burst of heat in September/October which is often the case here in Anjou.