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Dawnine Dyer
June 4, 2012 | Dawnine Dyer

Flowering in Dyer Vineyards

The vines have justa about finished blooming! See those white, thread-like starbursts? Believe it or not, those tiny protrusions hold a great deal of promise for the 2012 vintage. Those fragile little guys are grape flowers! Pretty showy, huh? NOT! You have to get up very close to see or smell them. From a distance they just look kind of fuzzy.

The flowers don’t need to be glamorous because they’re hermaphroditic – how’s that for a college word? It means they don’t need to attract bees or other insects because those tiny little threads contain the pollen-bearing stamen and the ovaries. How convenient! All we have to worry about is the weather. Everything else is taken care of as long as the weather’s good.

I’m very happy to say that the weather during bloom has been just about perfect this year. It's a little cool and weepy today, but we'll hope it doesn't make any difference. Bloom has been short, which bodes well for uniformity of ripening. We like that!

We’ve made preliminary cluster counts and it looks very strong. Excess is a wonderful thing at this time of year because it gives us lots to choose from when we come back to to thin.

This is something to celebrate because the last few years our crop has been thinned at bloom by ill-timed rain. Rain or hail can impair pollination – you would see gaps in the clusters where the grapes should have formed - we call it “shatter.” And, cool temperatures stretch out the flowering which can create a lack of uniformity from cluster to cluster and within the clusters.

Regarding uniformity, there’s one thing that got our attention. Notice the little green buds hanging down from the cluster? They’re solid green because they haven’t opened up to flower yet. That’s likely to put them behind in maturity, so we’ll be taking a good look at them when we come back with our pruning shears.

We took this photo a few days ago, so by the time you read this, fruit set – the formation of grape clusters – should be nearly complete. Now we can get out these to see what we've actually got!

Surprisingly, bloom is 12 days earlier than last year, which means it’s actually pretty much on time! All of this is very good news and we’ll hope Mother Nature’s good mood continues through the rest of the growing season.