Lifecycle of the Vine: What is a Budburst?

Published by Stuart Robinson - 23rd Oct 2018

Spring has well and truly sprung

It’s right about now that as the sun begins to shine just a little bit brighter and the days become a little bit longer we emerge from our winter hibernation, shed our woolies and immediately head off for a weekend drive to wine country.

Whether it be the Hunter in NSW, the Yarra in Vic, the Tamar in Tassie, Margaret River in WA, the Granite Belt in QLD, the Barossa in South Aussie or any other wine-growing region in Australia, one thing is certain – every single vineyard is now blooming beautiful.

Picture book perfect, right? Lush, green and fertile

If you’d gone for a weekend drive amongst the vineyards about a month ago you would’ve been passing row after row of manicured dry brown twigs sticking sentinel-like out of a barren looking landscape. During winter, this is the part of the cycle where the vines have been pruned to a set number of buds and are in a state of dormancy – literally conserving energy for the good times coming up.

Those good times have rolled around yet again!

Yep, the magical growth cycle of the ancient plant variety Vitis vinifera, or grapevine, has roared back into life.

Grapevines around Australia have by now responded to the annual cyclical temperature change and literally burst their buds – a process known to winemakers, quite common-sensibly, as budburst.

New shoots bearing new leaves suddenly appear and start pushing out bunches of grape flowers that quickly form grape berries which over late Spring and into Summer increase in size to become fully ripe grapes that get turned into wine.

Voila! It’s that simple… and also that complicated…

And so while warmer regions such as the iconic Barossa might have budburst and shoot growth around mid-September, and a cooler vineyard in Tassie might not show life until early October (and so ripen and harvest late, too) you can be certain that when you go for your Spring time weekend drive in the country right about now – every vine has started the flourishing, and truly phenomenal lifecycle that has been going on for thousands of years.

It’s a a lifecycle that will eventually become that delicious favourite bottle sitting right now in your picnic basket.

Check out these budburst and leaf canopy pics from Naked winemakers around Australia. Honestly, these proud winemakers treat their vines like part of their family!

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