Tannat in bloom, May 31, 2012 Things at the vineyard are hardly as final as my title would suggest, but I’m a little anxious because the forecast is calling for a cold, rainy low pressure system to swing through on Monday—and that sort of weather is never welcome during bloom.

And we are right in the middle of bloom. In the Pinot, many of the clusters have set and berries are beginning to size. Weather should not be a problem for Pinot. But Tannat and a little Mourvedre at the top of the slope, Marsanne and Rousanne, and even the partners’ Cabernet, have all started to bloom. Rain and a big swing in temperature might decimate the set, or worse.

Fortunately the Syrah, Grenache, Counoise and most of the Mourvedre are still closed up tight. A close look shows that the pollen on the flower stamens is starting to mature under the calyptra—the little caps that cover and protect the nascent flowers. Grape flowers often self-fertilize before cap fall, so these varieties might be fine so long as the rain doesn’t promote the growth of Botrytis. We’ve put out a prophylactic spray in any case.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying one of the sublime joys of being a grower—I get to wander the vineyard in the stillness of the early morning hours and stop to smell the flowers, literally. Grape flowers may not have petals, but they do have perfume—and each grape variety has its own subtly distinctive aroma.