Spring germination: the vine blooms again

Spring: it’s time to get back on track. That fascinating journey to the vines starts again, the one that, by the end of summer, will bring us to the long-awaited moment of the harvest. We already talked about the phenomenon of the weeping of the vine: the sap starts running through the shoots, distilling drops from the pruning “wounds”. That is the long-awaited sign: the germination period is about to start.

And this time we are going to talk about germination itself. About the moment when the resumption of the life cycle becomes immediately visible with the swelling of the buds. From which the shoots will slowly appear leading to the formation of the grapes. We are around mid-April, when the temperature starts becoming milder and, above all, more constant than the winter temperature excursions. Precisely for this reason, there is no precise day for the beginning of germination. We will usually see the buds opening when the temperature remains around 10 degrees centigrade. What we call “minimum growth temperature”, that is the minimum threshold under which we cannot drop, if we want our plant to bear its fruits.

This is the right temperature, for example, for the buds of the Sangiovese, the undisputed king of the Tuscan wines, to germinate. This is the vine which produces the most important regional denominations (as well as some of our most prestigious wines). Like Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti Classico.

When can we say that the bud is finally germinating though? It is all a question of experience and knowledge of the vine. We will have to go and see whether the little green leaves have appeared or not: initially they are unperceivable and indistinct then they are ever more defined, with the leaves starting to take shape and to look different from one another. Those vine shoots we saw bare and apparently lifeless during the winter, once again gain colour and elegance. After this, once the foliage has grown, the fruit will start to grow and to take on the shape of a bunch of grapes.

This is the true resumption of the vegetative cycle of the vine. The moment when everything restarts flowing, beginning with the sap in the shoots. The germination period is one that lasts more or less 40 days and one which preludes the subsequent stages which are just as important: blossoming, setting (that means the growth of the bunches of grapes) and the subsequent veraison (when the grapes start to assume their colour).