It’s June & here’s what we have going on in the field! We are currently in the midst of rapid vine growth due to the warm weather here in Southwest Michigan. It’s incredible to think that in just three months, we’ll be harvesting the 2023 vintage!
The current focus is still on suckering and shoot thinning our vines. This involves removing shoots that hinder the ripening of quality fruit or cause congestion in the trellis. This not only improves fruit ripening, but also helps reduce the risk of fungal diseases.
To combat fungal diseases organically, we recently sprayed compost tea in the vineyards. Compost tea is made by brewing compost in water, which promotes the growth of beneficial soil bacteria like Bacillus Subtilus. These microbes facilitate the vine’s interaction with the soil, exchanging sugars released by the vine’s roots for minerals and nutrients.
This process imitates the symbiotic relationship found in nature & helps us combat fungal diseases. It ultimately creates an inhospitable environment for them!
Next in the vine’s progression is the flowering stage, which we’re expecting to begin next week! Flowering is a critical phase in the reproductive process of grapevines and a significant milestone in grape development. Here in Fennville, the flowering stage typically takes place around mid to late June, depending on the grape variety.
During flowering, the vines produce small clusters of inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers, each containing male & female reproductive structures. Pollination occurs when the flowers become receptive, allowing for self-pollination or cross-pollination facilitated by wind or insects.
Once pollination happens, fertilization occurs, & the flowers transform into small green grape berries. Although initially hard and underdeveloped, these berries will gradually grow and ripen throughout the growing season.
It’s important to note that grapevines are hermaphroditic, having both male & female reproductive structures within the same flower. However, certain grape varieties may exhibit imperfect flowers with either male or female reproductive organs. In such cases, cross-pollination with compatible grapevines is necessary for fertilization & fruit set.
Successful flowering & pollination are crucial for a bountiful grape harvest. Unfavorable conditions during this stage, such as frost, excessive rainfall, or strong winds, can lead to poor fruit set & reduced yields in the vineyard. Similarly, hindrances to the pollination process can result in uneven berry development or smaller clusters.
Therefore, we closely monitor the flowering stage, paying attention to weather conditions & implementing preventive measures to protect the delicate flowers. This ensures optimal pollination & sets the stage for a successful grape harvest later in the season. Check out the photo below to see clusters of our La Gracia Estate Blaufränkisch in pre-bloom!
As the growing season ramps up in the vineyards, we’re also seeing the winery get busy heading into summer. We encourage you to visit & experience Modales. To see all of the ways you can experience Modales, Click here!