The Syrah ‘Tortoise’ and the Aragonez ‘Hare’
As if trying to make up for the miserable spring weather, summer has arrived early and with a vengeance! While bud break in mid- March was late this year by a good week, flowering has been tardy by at least 2 to 3 weeks in most varieties this year. Lead time between bud break and flowering can be anything between 40- 80 days depending on the weather and the grape variety, and this year the cold spring weather has acted as a big brake on our vineyards.
Alicante Bouschet, Petit Verdot, Aragonez, Touriga Nacional and the white varieties Verdelho and Viognier have now all started on the beginning stage of flowering, when the calyptra or ‘caps’ begin to fall and flowers become visible, liberating the pollen from the anthers of the stamen.
Syrah, the laggard in the vineyard in the early stages, is often the last variety to start flowering, but the first variety to be harvested, as it catches up on and even overtakes the other varieties during the following months of the summer growing season. Syrah is Aesop’s ‘tortoise’ of the vineyard race, as it keeps plodding on through the hot summer months, and eventually overtakes Aragonez (Tempranillo), Aesop’s ‘hare’, who races off to a fast start only to get caught out napping later on in the race!
Don´t forget! Vines are self-pollinating, or hermaphroditic, with both male stamens and female ovaries. So they can do it all by themselves on the same vine, wind and insects only playing a small role. With this current spell of warm, balmy summer weather in late May, the vineyard is turning alive, a buzz with wild pollinating activity, resulting in baby grape berries! Now’s the time for the grape vines to do their thing!