Vine Growth Cycle

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

vine growth cycle, the annual march of the vine’s development, which begins at budbreak in the spring, and concludes at leaf fall in the autumn. There are distinct developmental stages along the way (see phenology), the principal ones being budbreak, flowering, fruit set, veraison, harvest, when the grapes are mature, and leaf fall. The pace of development between these phenological stages varies greatly with vine variety. Very early varieties, such as madeleine angevine, go through the stages up to ripeness in a short time, and can therefore ripen in regions with a short growing season and relatively cool temperatures. In late varieties, such as mourvèdre, carignan, and clairette, all stages are prolonged and much more heat and time are needed to bring them to maturity. The length of the growth cycle also depends on climate, especially temperature. In hot regions, the period from budbreak to harvest may be as short as 130 days for early varieties, but in cooler regions this period can be over 200 days.