Thursday, May 24, 2007
Making a Contract
Grapes are the fruit of the vine, and so it stands to reason that the vine produces flowers. the grape flower clusters are called inflorescence — flowering is an interesting thing. a grape shoot can give you up to three flower clusters. they can form close to the cordon and then again above the first flowering, often as a wild offshoot of a fresh tendril. on one year canes, they will be on the opposite side of the leaves. the flower doesnt look much like a flower—they are all green and kind of nubby. sort of like very tiny fig fruits, alot of them all jammed together on stems. then they open and there is this small green star-like flower with a stamen shooting out. last weekend, my task was to drop a large quantity of inflorescence from the proofing vines and all the inflorescence from the viognier. next week i will most likely go through the vidal acre and remove all the inflorescence. for sticks that we just dropped into the ground, they are surprisingly prolific.
its a hard thing, dropping bunches of what you know could bear grapes. my husband gave me careful instructions to be ruthless and trim them all but the grape cluster closest to the cordon. i told him he was a hard man. "for the good of all, some must be dropped," he said. and then he left me to my task. i stood before each vine and quickly found out the best way to remove them was a swift yank on the offending inflorescence—like a little guy with a band-aid. anything less than a clean yank could mean tearing at the stem. that could encourage disease. as i set about establishing a rhythm of plucking and moving i started thinking just sort of absently. like, why do these silly vines put out so many flower clusters. i was sort of disgusted with the waste. the vine should know better. then i gave it another second of thought and realized it more or less was nature trying to ensure species survival. so here i was plucking and in a way telling the vine that by culling i would take care of it. i would be there helping the vine along, so it didnt have to worry about throwing out tons of potential grapes. it could just concentrate on growing the best of the best. i was making a contract with the grape.
yeh. it was corny. but it was spring and i was out there among the vines and i felt what i think my husband feels everyday.