The frosty vine bending test

When Winter strips limbs bare and shivering the woods could pass for dead. A white blanket shrouds even the moss and blades of grass that never quite fade to grey or blacken like the piles of leaves. How then to judge the condition of fledgling grape vines first weakened by transplantation, then by drought and finally by a Kamakazie (divine wind) attack of beetles? With the last drifts gone from the Bluecircle it’s time to take stock.

A few Pinot Gris vines, like the tulip poplars felled by high winds in August, have snapped at the ground and need no further inspection. Here and there there are empty spots in the rows where the uncertainty of survival has prevailed. In contrast, precocious buds emerge in a favored row or two to inspire confidence. The practical approach turns out to be simply bending each vine in turn. Most flex in their early Spring vitality and have survived the test of year 1. Sadly, some are brittle and can only yield memories.