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Wine Spectator School

Class 9: Winegrowing and Winemaking

Winemakers agree that quality comes from the vineyard. A common saying is, "Poor grapes will never make good wine; it takes great grapes to make great wine."



The vine goes through an annual cycle. Dormant in winter, it comes to life with the first warmth of spring, following this pattern:


Budbreak occurs in early spring, when the vine puts out tender buds that will develop into canes. The vines are vulnerable to frost at this stage.


Flowering occurs in late spring with the emergence of tiny blossoms. Spring rains and winds can disrupt flowering, reducing the potential crop.

Fruit Set

Fruit set, in late spring or early summer, occurs when fertilized flowers swell into tiny bunches of grapes.


During veraison, in late summer or early fall, the...

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