After a long winter as the ground thaws and the weather warms, a lot begins to happen in Niagara vineyards to get ready for the growing season. During the winter months, most grape vines are dormant and rely on the signal of warmer temperatures to awaken, which starts a new wine season in Niagara.
As the fear of harsh overnight frosts passes, Niagara wine growers work hard to finish pruning their grapevines and begin to secure vines onto their trellises, this process is called tying. It is important for growers to try and complete the tying process before any buds begin to break through. This minimizes damage to the vine.
As the soil in the vineyard begins to dry out, Niagara wine maker s clean out their vineyards by removing cuttings and mulching, a process that helps return nutrients to the earth.
May is the month where vines experience a burst of bud growth. As the temperature rises, the growth of the grapevines accelerates. In the fall, Niagara winemakers hill soil up around the base of the vines to protect them from the cold, and by mid May, these hills are removed along with any weeds that may have begun to grow. It is important to remove weeds from the vineyards as they compete with the grapevines for nutrients.
In addition to making sure that weeds are removed on a regular basis, Niagara grape growers work the soil. This allows it to heat up and incorporates oxygen into the soil, encouraging vine growth.
Spring can be a perilous month for Niagara vineyards as a cold snap can seriously damage the buds that have started to grow. Thankfully, the moderating effects of Lakes Ontario and Erie in
conjunction with the Niagara Escarpment, creates an area of quite moderate temperatures during spring and summer growing seasons.
Starting in June and into the summer is truly when Niagara vineyards and the wineries come to life! A Niagara Vintage Wine Tour features in depth vineyard tours with our Wine Smart guides. These are the perfect opportunity to learn more about where your favourite Niagara wines come from and how to move from the vine to your glass. Contact us for autumn wine tour details.