It’s that time again. Bud break signals the beginning of the 2012 growing season at King Estate. Tiny buds first started popping up in March, and the vineyard achieved 100% bud break in early May. Last year, bud break wasn’t until mid-May, so Vineyard Manger Meliton Martinez and the vineyard crew are paying special attention to the vulnerable buds to ensure optimal growth. Secondary buds are manually removed to make sure the primary bud (which contains 2-3 grape clusters) receives most of the nutrients and energy, “we have to touch every single bud to remove them,” said Martinez. The process takes about two weeks with 60 people working all day at the task.
A spring frost can be detrimental to new growth, but this year’s warm spring weather is promising. “The heat really helped get things going,” Martinez said. Most buds have now transformed into vines reaching up to 8 inches in length. In the photos below you will see Justin King and Meliton Martinez examining bud break on various blocks of organic pinot gris, pinot noir, and muscat vines at King Estate Winery on Wednesday, May 2nd 2012.