Inside Knights Bridge


Combating frost & Early estimations of grape cluster size

Combating frost & Early estimations of grape cluster size

 Combating frost

As spring arrives, the vines emerge from hibernation. It's a gorgeous time of year as the entire region undergoes a renewal. 

Early estimations of grape cluster size

During the dormant months of November through March we can often get a glimpse into what the crop will be like next season using a method called bud-dissection.

 

Combating frost

As spring arrives, the vines emerge from hibernation. It's a gorgeous time of year as the entire region undergoes a renewal.

However, it is no time to relax. The vines are at a crucial stage of development and frost is a major threat. Frost can damage or destroy the buds, which contain the embryonic grape clusters. Until these buds develop fully, frost remains a concern.

To deal with the threat of frost, we use wind machines. These machines use enormous fans that mix warmer air from high above the ground with colder air near the vines. Because temperatures drop at night, the fans must be turned on manually in the early morning hours - often at about 3am. These are early, cold, and loud mornings in the valley, but it is exciting to witness the start of a new vintage.

Early estimations of grape cluster size

During the dormant months of November through March we can often get a glimpse into what the crop will be like next season using a method called bud-dissection. Late spring and early summer finds the vines hard at work developing next year's buds. During this development the number of clusters is decided, and the relative size of the cluster is also set for the next season through a process called bud differentiation. The healthier our vines are this year, the healthier our crop is next year, and so it goes, year in and year out.

We can see approximately how many clusters we will have next year by surgically cutting into 20 or more buds, and examining them under a microscope. Here we see all of the cluster primordia and their relative size, small, medium or large. This season we expect an average cluster number across the board at Knights Bridge. We are looking for anywhere from 110 to 150 berries per cluster, which gives us nice open architecture and lets a lot of light exposure into the insides of the cluster.

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Combating frost & Early estimations of grape cluster size