2022 Budbreak Update
Have you ever wondered how vineyards survive the winter months despite frost, rain, snow or even flood conditions? Grapevines survive by going dormant, pulling their sugar and starches into the vine’s core, and shutting down to protect themselves from harsh weather. In essence, grapevines “hibernate.” As the weather begins to warm, it signals the vine to wake up and start pushing green growth and emerging shoots. This is known as budbreak, and it is the first sign of a new vintage.
In early March, we are experiencing some early indications of spring at our esteemed mountain vineyards around Napa Valley. Warm, dry conditions are triggering the vine’s instincts to begin the growing season for 2022.
At Cypress Ranch Vineyard in the shadow of Howell Mountain, sap is flowing from the pruning wounds. Called “weeping,” this is a sign of the vine’s awakening, and we are eagerly awaiting new growth. “If the warm weather trends return, we anticipate budbreak to occur a bit earlier than normal, but not unusually so,” says Vineyard Manager Geoff Gatto.
In contrast to Cypress Ranch, some of the Zinfandel vines at Monte Rosso Vineyard woke from dormancy in late January. Perched at 1,300 feet in the heart of the Mayacamas Mountain range, Monte Rosso is always one of our earliest vineyards to push buds. “Every variety except Cabernet Sauvignon is pushing at this point,” says Vineyard Manager Brenae Royal, “which will allow us to manage the vineyard in two halves – which is a good thing!”
The Stagecoach Vineyard is remotely situated 2,200 feet above the Napa Valley floor in a south to southwest facing bowl above the fog line. “We are starting to see some wooly buds on the Cabernet vines, but no green tissue breaks yet,” says vineyard manager Trini Amador. “Once things take off, we fully expect the vines to enjoy the extended hang time that allows these grapes to develop and ripen at a leisurely pace.”
When he founded the winery nearly 90 years ago, Louis M. Martini believed that he could grow and produce world-class wines from the diverse micro-climates found here, each launching budbreak at different times in late winter/early spring. As we usher in a new growing season for vintage 2022, we are excited for the year ahead.