Warmest winter ever and my grapes have buds swelling

It was officially the warmest January ever on record in Seattle, averaging more than 6 degrees warmer than usual for the month. The average daily temperature was 47 instead of the usual 40.

This has my vines getting ready to bud. Usually that means it would be time to prune … but I’m worried it could still freeze in February or March. Last year I estimate I lost at least 1/2 of the crop to a hard freeze. So I’m going to hold off on pruning until early March if possible. Leaving the vines unpruned will delay growth in the close-in buds and hopefully protect against the chance of a freeze.

It’s exciting to think that bud break will probably be 4-6 weeks earlier than last year. If the summer is consistent and long we could have a very nice crop.

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