The vines have burst their buds in the vineyards of St Emilion and the new year, 2012 starts (while producers prepare to show their latest baby, 2011, to the world’s press and buyers). The young leaves uncurl showing the a small green growths which will turn into the flowers. It is about average timing but infact means nothing in terms of the vegetative cycle. It is the flowering that gives an indication of timing of harvest (in the past 100 days from mid-flowering and now more like 110 to 115 days if the autumn weather will allow it!)
Pruning has finished, the sarments (vine cuttings) collected and bundled ready for the entrecotes this summer or cut up into the soil. The sap has risen from the roots of the vines “le pleur” – seen when any last minute pruning is done as a little tear drop. Bud burst signals the beginning of the danger period for frost. In 2008 frost struck as late as 24 April in Southern St Emilion and killed the young buds which resulted in a severe reduction in final yields.
Some producers are adding fertilizer to the vines to build them up before their hard work begins. There is much repairing of pickets and general maintenance.
The vineyards are filled with Spring flowers.