Perennial plants such as grapevines die back in the fall and start growth again each spring. New growth emerges only from growing points, also called "buds". When the vines were pruned last winter, a certain number buds were left on each vine. In our region those buds began growth this month. For Orange Muscat the buds "burst" around March 15.
Energy for the differentiation and growth of the plant material is provided by metabolism of carbohydrates created last fall in the leaves and stored over the winter in the woody parts after the crop was harvested but before the plant went into dormancy.
The photo to the right is a close up of an Orange Muscat bud a few days after the bud began growth.
The red coloring on the leaves is characteristic of Orange Muscat. Most white grape varieties including other Muscats do not exhibit this coloration.
We use this coloration, only visible in the spring, to differenciate our Orange Muscat grapes from the Muscat Blanc (or Muscat Canelli) grapes also growing in our vineyard.
In the third photo (this is of Grenache), the bud has become a shoot. Clearly visible are the parts which will develop into a grape cluster. The cluster will have three lobes. Normally there are two clusters on each shoot.
Grenache is a vigorous variety with the potential to produce a large crop.
In September when the grapes are ready to harvest the cluster will be about 12 inches long and weigh about one pound. We are making a light red or dark rose Grenache table wine from these grapes, for our personal use.