The 2015 vintage made its debut on the North Fork at last with buds breaking on May 2 at some vineyards, which is right around average for the region.
Bud break, which usually occurs during the first week of May, is when the brown vines awake from dormancy and begin to grow into the vines that will eventually bear grapes.
Bud break was one day earlier than last year at Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue with the first green sprouting from the vines on May 5.
“We expected it to be late (with the harsh winter and snow being on the ground for so long), but it came when it usually does,” Lieb general manager Ami Opisso said in an email. “This is good news for all of us because the earlier the bud break, the longer the growing season and the better chance we have to fully ripen our red grapes.”
The vines are shooting up at a rate of half an inch a day at Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck, according to co-owner David Page. Cabernet franc buds first sprouted on May 2.
“It’s funny the way vines start to respond when things start to warm up,” he said. “The vines are happy to enjoy all of this heat and enjoy the sunshine.”
The earliest bud break at Shinn was on April 15 in 2010 and 2002, Page said.
He noted that above average rain falls and because it hasn’t rained since April, growing conditions are nearly optimal.
“We’re seeing that with lots of plants, everything is having an amazing bloom this year,” he said.
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