Tying down the new canes in March, we could quite literally see the sap rising – welling up from pruning cuts to stain the wood or hanging like dew drops from the tips. All the energy of the new season was on the move and we wondered if, like last year, bud burst might come early.
In 2020, the first green shoot appeared on 10 April among the Pinots with the Chardonnay following two or three days later. Emerging as we are now from a clutch of deeply frosted nights (dropping regularly to -4 or -6 degrees) and cold northerly winds, we are still waiting in anticipation some 12 days later. Fortunately, no leaves had yet appeared over this period and we did not have to light up our bougies as the buds can withstand frost better than tender shoots. We are, however, not out of the woods yet, as last year’s very late frost in the middle of May proved and we also spare a thought for the vineyards in France whose crops this year, already growing away, have been devastated by these same hard nights.