The vines out at the vineyard are just starting to flower. Because of the long and harsh winter, we're seeing secondary shoots*. There are typically three grape shoots in one bundle and the primary shoot is usually the only shoot to come out. However, the primary shoot was killed by the cold. There are usually three flowers per shoot, but now we're seeing one, sometimes two. We will have a smaller crop this season, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The vines are healthy and full.
Right now, we're tucking the shoots into the wires so that they grow 'up.' We want the sunlight to make it all the way to all the clusters. In a few weeks, we'll begin to pull leaves. The flowers are currently under the leaves, towards the bottom. We'll want to pull leaves on the East side of the vine so that the flowers receive direct sunlight in the morning, but not in the afternoon when it's hotter. It's important to pull leaves because if it's not producing, it's just costing energy.
*What's a shoot?
A shoot consists of stems, leaves, tendrils and fruit and is the primary unit of vine growth and the principal focus. Shoots arise from compound buds that areinitiated around bloom during the prevous growing season. Each compound can potentially produce more than one shoot. Primary shoots arise from primary buds and are normally the fruit-producing shotos on the vine. At bud burst, the primary bud is typically the only bud that begins to grow. If the primary bud is damaged, then the secondary buds are released and grow in place of the primary bud. Secondary buds generally have less fruit in comparison to the primary buds. Arranged along the shoot in regular patterns are leaves, tendtrils, flower or fruit clusters and buds.
Hellman, Ed. "Parts of the Grape Vine: Shoots - EXtension." Parts of the Grape Vine: Shoots - EXtension. Texas AgriLife Extension, 06 Sept. 2012. Web. 23 June 2014.