The Breezy Sex Life of Wine Grapes

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Good Morning Class! Today, our lesson is about sex.

Do I have your attention?

Now, don't get too excited, we are going to briefly discuss the science behind sexual reproduction in wine grapes. This is a family-friendly blog, afterall.

This particular process is key to creating those delicious bottles of wine you enjoy because let's face it; we can't have wine without grapes.

However, there are some interesting and unique aspects of reproduction in grapes.

All It Takes is a Little Romance

Starting off, most grapevines are what is called self-fertile, meaning the pollen the ovary requires for fertilization is located on the plant. In the grapevine’s case, the male and female flower parts are contained on the same flower. This is called a ‘complete flower.'

This also means that, unlike many other fruits, insects such as bees are not required to translocate pollen from differing varieties to obtain successful pollination.

The magic all happens within a biosphere as small as a light switch called an inflorescence. When the calyptra, or flower-cap, pops off the young inflorescence, it exposes the male and female flower parts to the air and pollen is free to land on the style, swell up, and then send its sperm to the ovary for pollination.

All it takes is a slight breeze to create grapes!  See, I guess we did get romantic after all!

And A Little Sunshine

Successful pollination to turn young inflorescences into grapes requires warm, sunny, dry weather. Luckily, we've received plenty of that weather all throughout the pollination period for all our varieties here at Shady Lane Cellars.

This time of the year, we are looking at lots of clusters of very young grapes, about as big as an eraser head, which are about to begin the next phase of their development. In the meantime, the vines are soaking up the sun, and you should be too.  


Andy Fles

Andy Head Shot

Vineyard Manager - Shady Lane Cellars

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