Early Spring in Temecula Valley: What is bud break?

March 29th, 2012

Bud break is the first stage of growth for a wine grape.  Every grape in the Northern Hemisphere begins its annual growth cycle around March.  This growth process occurs over a number of days and the length is determined by the grape variety, location, and weather.  It’s always an exciting time when the first sign of green begins emerging in the vineyards!

Bud break begins when the tiny buds on the vine start to swell.  What’s interesting to note is that these buds actually appear in the summer of the previous growth cycle – they are green and covered in scales.  During winter, the buds go dormant and brown and in the spring, they begin to sprout green shoots and finally, grape leaves.

In warm climates like Temecula Valley, it takes about four weeks until the growth of the shoots start to rapidly accelerate, with the tendrils growing an average of one inch per day.


Check out this grape growth chart to explain the stages of bud break:


  Growth Stage 1 – Sprouting – brown “wool” clearly visible
  Growth Stage 2 – Beginning of bud break – green shoot tips just visible
  Growth Stage 3 – Bud break – green shoot tips clearly visible
  Growth Stage 4 – Bud break – green shoot tips slightly opened
  Growth Stage 5 – Leaf development – some leaves unfurl
*Credit for the bud break chart and info goes to Janice Schmidt, a UC Davis trained enologist.


Here’s some Temecula Valley bud break beauty snapshots, courtesy of Falkner Winery.  Happy early spring from wine country!



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