During the month of June, the grapevine berries have formed and are beginning to grow. This critical time in the development of the vine is called fruit set of the grapes. The below photo gallery shows fruit set grape images from the 2016 vintage.
As discussed in our recent spring flowering blog post, May weather was a mix of cool days, rain showers and even a few heat spikes, which disrupted the bloom of grapevines in several vineyards. Without consistent, moderate weather during bloom, grape flowers cannot turn into berries. Winemaker Rob Davis predicts that the 2016 vintage crop’s size will be in-between last year and a normal year overall. Grapegrowers won’t be 30% down like they were in 2015 for Cabernet Sauvignon; based on our first cluster counts, numbers are closer to 15% down. It’s a mixed bag this year. Some vineyards flowered before the cool weather while others started blooming during the rains and the heat spikes. You’ll notice that a handful of the grape flowers that didn’t turn into berries are still noticeable in the photos below. This doesn’t influence quality; it simply affects the number of berries in a cluster. With a few Chardonnay clusters, you’ll also see examples of what we call “hens and chicks,” where the grapes grow at different sizes due to inconsistent flowering times.