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Rubino Estates Winery
March 19, 2021 | Rubino Estates Winery

Vineyard Update: Bud Break

Here in Rubino's Estate vineyard, the new year of growing begins with an event called "bud break" or "bud burst." Throughout the dormant season, tiny nodes in the wood have rested, waiting to put forth a small, protected bud. As the weather warms and the vine begins to move nutrients up, the buds begin to swell. Generally, the vine is considered to have officially begun to break its buds when the tips of the leaves are visible. The timing of the bud break is very important, as an earlier break means a longer growing season but increases the likelihood of injury to the tender shoots from spring frosts. 

Even if the vines look dormant, the onset of spring sets things in motion underground. The carefully pruned Barbera vines shown above are getting ready to put out buds once the weather allows. Grapevines begin to send up the needed nutrients from their roots when the daily temperature is about 50 °F or above, though different varieties have different temperature preferences.

If the woody cane was pruned properly the prior season, you may see the vine undergo a process called "bleeding" wherein water is pushed up from the roots carrying organic acids, minerals, and sugars. On average, a single vine may expel more than a gallon of sap during this phase. Pictured above is a weeping vine of our Sauvignon Blanc preparing to begin the next phase of bud growth. 

Tiny buds are the surest sign marking the end of the dormancy period. As long as the weather is warm, cloudy days can't stop this new Sangiovese bud from beginning to swell and bringing some freshness to the vineyard. The tender growth stands out in contrast to the aged cane, which was pruned in the prior season and is now ready to support the new development. 

As the vines continue to turn their stored starch into sugar, their buds break and tiny leaves begin to unfurl. When enough surface area is exposed, the leaves will begin to perform photosynthesis. Pictured here are our Chardonnay vines, which begin the bud breaking phase earlier than other varietals. Slowly but surely, these infant leaves will provide increasingly more energy to the vine, aiding the continued growth process. Within a few weeks, the vines will be fully clothed in lush greenery. 

We are excited for the season to come!


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