Seasons in the Vineyard is a Wines In Niagara photo essay series by local photographer Elena Galey-Pride.
Elena spends a great deal of her time documenting the circle of life in the vineyard — from new beginnings in spring, the season of hope, then moving into summer, where warmth and gentle rains give life to the vines, to fall, when plump ripe grapes are harvested to make delicious wines, to winter, the dangerous season when vines are dormant and it’s a fight for survival out there. We are documenting the four seasons in the vineyard with this series.
The first part of the series, Spring in the Vineyard, can be viewed here
In our second part, Summer in the Vineyard, Elena takes us through the growing season beginning in June, where the vineyards are bursting with energy and life. Vines can grow as much as two inches per day, according to the Grape Growers of Ontario. As the new canes grow, flowers that resemble miniature grape bunches start to develop. The vine typically enters the bloom period, which, depending on the accumulated heat units, occurs from mid to late June.
In July, what were once developing flowers on the grapevine have now become bunches of grapes. Growers are busy removing the excess bunches to enhance and ensure premium quality.
Moving to August, this is a time of grape berry enlargement. To further enhance grape quality, growers remove the vine’s basal leaves to expose the grapes to more sunlight and air movement. This is important to enhance the quality of grapes and to control disease, because exposed grapes dry out sooner and are less susceptible to fungal attack. By the end of August, there is rapid increase in sugar levels in the vines. This is also the beginning of the grape maturation process. White grapes are transformed from a solid to translucent green, while red or blue grapes start to develop skin pigmentation. This process is called veraison. After veraison and as maturation proceeds, sugars increase and total acids start to decrease in the grapes. In some cases, by late August, harvesting begins, especially for sparkling wines.
Seasons in the Vineyard: Summer
All photos are copyright by Elena and cannot used without permission at winestains
About Elena Galey-Pride
Elena Galey-Pride switched gears 20 years ago, leaving the corporate world to take her PR and marketing skills to wine country. After successful start-ups with two innovative Niagara wineries, Elena launched her solo effort as a marketing and social media consultant, dealing primarily with winery and wine event clients. Along the way, she picked up her camera again, and began focusing in on vineyards, wineries, wine events and wine people. Her company, Winestains, is named for the stain that wine made on Elena’s life, and for the indelible impressions that she helps her clients to make.