Fruit set is a critical moment in the vine’s vegetative cycle.
Allegagione… it’s not easy to say in Italian!
It’s pronounced ahl-leh-gah-JOH-neh.
And the English translation is “fruit set.”
Basically, it’s the moment in the vine’s vegetative cycle when certain flowers on the plant start to become berries.
According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, only 30 per cent of the flowers become berries, although, the editors write, that figure can be as high as 60 per cent.
It’s such an important moment because it determines how much fruit the harvest will actually yield. And the yield, naturally, also affects quality. A lower amount of flowers that become berries could mean a smaller crop for the grape grower. A higher amount could mean that the number of berries produced is higher but the quality could be lower because the flavors will not be as concentrated.
The time leading up to the fruit set is also very risky for the grape grower. The berries are strong than the flowers and they can handle a little rain better than the flowers. But a heavy rainstorm can wipe the flowers off the plant and that can be a disaster for a grape grower.
The fruit set also tells the grape grower, more or less, when harvest will be. The rule of thumb is 100 days from fruit set, give or take a few depending on how fast or slowly the grapes ripen.
So while a lot of nail-biting goes on as the vegetative cycle leads up to fruit sit, there can be a huge sigh of relief after it happens. (Or in some cases, crying call follow!)
Luckily for Bele Casel this year, fruit set arrived last week with no major issues and the outlook — so far — for this year’s harvest is very good!