We’re just a few days short of bud break now! Pruning and tying down is all done, and presently we’re working on maintenance—replacing posts, dropping wires ahead of the vine’s growth, etc.—and waiting for the vines to start going. The first sign of that is bud break, a term which is extremely apt, insofar as the buds actually seem to burst open and unfurl their leaves. Its a startlingly transformation to witness firsthand: the vines go from seemingly dead sticks to very clearly alive and thriving. Once the vines hit that point they can absorb sunlight again and begin growing extremely quickly.
Elsewhere, in our newest vineyards, bud break has already finished and growth has begun. By-and-large, this difference can be attributed to our employment of growth tubes in the young vineyards. There is a good reason for the use of these growth tubes: one, they allow us to apply herbicides to knock back other plants which would interfere with the growth of the young vines; two, they accelerate the growth of the young vines by keeping them slightly warmer than the air outside. While its just a few degrees warmer, that little extra kick is enough to give the newbies a major edge on the older vineyards.