Flowers, Vine

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

The grapevine flower is not showy, and has little attraction for birds, but it has the normal complement of sepals and petals surrounding the sexual parts: the male in the stamens and the female in the pistil. Flowers are grouped together on an inflorescence (see bunch). The five petals are locked together to form a cap or calyptra and, at flowering, they fall off, usually as a unit joined at the base; this is called ‘capfall’, an important phenological stage. Once the caps are off, the stamens expand to their full length and the inflorescence begins to look fluffy. A wet, glistening coating covers the stigma at the top of the pistil when it is ready to receive large numbers of pollen grains lodged on this surface.