Buds break early on North Fork vineyards

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Buds break early at Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue.

In vineyards across the North Fork, the buds have broken, a leafy sign that the time of grapevine dormancy is over and a new growth cycle is well underway.

Bud break is the moment when winter brown gives way to spring green and the vines produce the shoots that produce flowers that produce the fruit that will eventually become wine.

“We saw bud swell last week and definite bud break on Wednesday,” said Joe Macari, who works at his family’s vineyard in Mattituck.

“There’s still some varieties that aren’t opened up, but they should be within the week,” he said.

Mr. Macari added that in 2010, a banner year for the area, bud break came around Apr. 12, with this year only a week at its heels.

Paumanok’s winemaker, Kareem Massoud, said last month that an early bud break following a mild winter has the potential to extend the growing season and maker for riper grapes, though a late frost could freeze off the primary buds and delay it. Though secondary buds would push out from the plants, Mr. Massoud said they would be less productive than the originals.

[email protected]