The Flowering of the Vine: The Consecration of Spring

A floración da vide é un momento transcendental para a colleita anual

Weather conditions and the action of pollinating insects play a crucial role in the flowering of the vine

Flowers are present throughout people’s lives and beyond. For example, they are typical gifts given to mothers when they give birth. Flowers are part of all important ceremonies, such as weddings, but also small details, such as the flower you give to someone you love to remind them that you care about them. And flowers are also how we revere and pay tribute to the people no longer by our side.

Beyond rites and social habits, the truth is that flowers are synonymous with life. Before they bear fruit, fruit trees put forth blossoms. In the viticulture field, the flowering of the vine is a crucial phase that ends with the setting of the grapes, giving us a preview of what will end up being valuable bunches of grapes.

The flowering of the vine takes place between May and June. Over three weeks in late spring, small white flowers burst forth from the buds, waiting to be pollinated to give way to grape berries. Rain, sun and wind play a crucial role during the flowering of the vine and can hinder the pollination process and, with it, the year’s harvest.

Given what we have just pointed out, it is clear that the flowering of the vine is 20 days vital for the production of grapes, in which winegrowers have to bring into play all their knowledge and know-how to protect the flowers and with them the future bunches.

Next, we will address the keys to the flowering of the vine, a phase that in Pazo Baión, we live with special emotion and that fills our vineyards with small white flowers that act as the consecration of spring in this corner in the heart of the Rías Baixas.

Bees and wind, the best allies of the flowering of the grapevine

Pollination is a key natural process for the growth of the fruits we eat, not only grapes. Bees, the pollinating agents par excellence, are specially protected insects.

The insects and the wind move the pollen, making it easier for it to reach the flowers and germinate the fertilized ovules that, as they grow, give way to grape berries.

The flowers open to receive the pollen and be fertilized.

Good pollination facilitates, as it could not be otherwise, that the flowering of the vine is optimal and, therefore, so is the quantity and quality of the grape berries that are born from it.

Inefficient pollination results in unsatisfactory fertilization of the clusters, which can directly affect the development of the grapes. As well as the number of bunches. Since the flowers that are not fertilized disappear, if many flowers do not receive pollen, a phenomenon feared by all winegrowers can occur: the runner.

Likewise, if pollination is successful, most flowers will likely be fertilized. If a load of clusters is excessive, the viticulture team will have to remove some of them so that the distribution of the load is ideal for the health of the vine and to ensure optimal ripening of the clusters.

The flowering of the vine is a natural spectacle

Climatic risks: fearing the rain, wishing for the sun

In addition to controlling the load, facilitating the pollination process and monitoring the state of health of the vineyards, the viticulture team must constantly be alert to the weather during these delicate weeks.

The quality of the soil in which the vines grow, the pruning and the multiple tasks carried out by the viticulturists are crucial to obtain harvests of high quality and satisfactory quantity. But there are other factors beyond human control. For example, the climate is important throughout the vine’s life cycle, especially during flowering.

Excessive rainfall can prevent the flower’s reproductive organs from being pollinated, and thus the fertilization of many flowers fails. Even worse than an abundance of rain is the occurrence of storms, which can threaten the integrity of the flowers.

On the other hand, the sun favors the fertilization process during the flowering of the vine. So what is the ideal climate at this stage? The prototypical late spring. At least in the Rías Baixas, where Pazo Baión is located. That is abundant sunshine and mild temperatures. Or, to put it another way, little rain and temperatures that do not reach the high summer temperatures.

What does the flowering of the vine tell us about the year’s harvest?

With the flowering of the vine, the countdown to harvest is activated. So if flowering occurs late or takes longer, it is likely that the harvest will also be delayed in the calendar. And vice versa. If the flowering of the vine occurs early, it is more likely that the ripening of the grapes will finish earlier, leading to the harvest having to be carried out on earlier dates.

Beyond the calendar, the flowering of the vine informs us, as we have already suggested, about the quantity and quality of the grape harvest. If few flowers have been fertilized, there will be few bunches. If too many have been fertilized, green bunches should be harvested to regulate the future load of grapes.

Thus, the flowering of the vine helps Pazo Baión’s viticulture team to predict what the grape harvest may be like, to plan the remaining months until the harvest and to give the best of themselves to ensure that the only single-estate Albariños are made, for yet another year, with the best raw material. Three Rías Baixas whose grapes are cared for down to the smallest detail. Even before they set, already during the previous stages, such as the flowering of the vine.

The flowering of the vine is a beautiful spectacle at Pazo Baión

Next stop: the fruit set

Once the flowering of the vine is complete, and the flowers are successfully fertilized, the setting of the grapes begins. The flowers give way to grape berries, which are still embryonic. For another 2-3 weeks, the berries develop into bunches of grapes as they are in the collective imagination.

During fruit set, leaves are removed to focus the vine’s resources, as well as to aerate the berries and allow them to be well exposed to the sun to ripen throughout the summer.

For this reason, the fruit set requires that the viticulture team pay personalized attention to each vineyard, undertaking the actions that best suit its needs and the purpose for which the grapes it will produce will be used.

Once the flowering of the vine has started, the countdown is on to finish with the bunches of grapes turning into delicious wines. And, in the case of Pazo Baión, into albariños with five centuries of history.

The beauty of the discreet

Unlike cherry blossom, famous worldwide, from Japan to the Jerte Valley, the flowering of the vine is not ostentatious.

The flowering of the vine do not attract attention from miles away, but the small white flowers show their beauty at short distances.

Therefore, the only way to appreciate the flowering of the vine elegant and discreet beauty is to walk through the vineyards. Stroll calmly among the vines and expose your senses just inches away from the flowers.

To enjoy this natural process in situ, at Pazo Baión, we have four wine tourism plans to experience the flowering of the vine with sight and smell.

Walking among the flowering vines is an experience as delicate as it is fascinating. And to observe first-hand how the Pazo Baión viticulture team works to protect the flowers and contribute to successful fertilization. This commendable task combines ancestral knowledge of vine growing and winemaking in the Rías Baixas with current techniques and knowledge to predict the weather and care for the vines throughout their life cycle.

In short, the flowering of the vine is a phase of enormous importance for a year’s grape harvest. In three weeks, viticulture professionals have to do their best to ensure that the fertilization of the flowers generates a grape harvest of optimum quantity and quality.

Flowers are not only part of the rituals of human life but are essential in the birth of some of our most valuable fruits, such as grapes.

Welcome to the consecration of spring.



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