La vigne dans tous ses états : le cycle de vie de la vigne

The vine in all its forms: the life cycle of the vine

The vine, Vitis Vinifera Sativa, as it is called, goes through different stages and different states in order to be able to produce grapes each year... and therefore wine! These stages which define the life cycle of the vine are essential to the proper development of the plant . In this article, we tell you about the different stages of the vine life cycle .

Two cycles

First of all, it is important to distinguish the two main cycles in the development of the vine.

The growing cycle takes place between March and mid-November. This is the period during which the vine is active and undergoes the most important phases of its development.

The winter cycle , also called vine rest , takes place between mid-November and March, and the arrival of spring. During this period, the plant will go to sleep and its main mission will simply be to survive the winter.

We therefore start the life cycle of the vine at the end of its winter cycle, and at the start of its vegetative cycle. The vine will go through 10 successive stages, until it falls asleep again next winter... Are you ready? Let's go !

The cries

This is the first step after 4 months of rest. When spring arrives, the sun returns and the soil begins to warm up. The sap circulates again in the plant and rises from the roots to the branches. It then flows through the cut wounds, left after pruning the vines during the winter. They say that the “ vine cries .” And it is these “crys”, these drops of sap which flow from the plant, which indicate to winegrowers the resumption of the vegetative cycle. And therefore the resumption of activity in the vineyard.


About a month after crying, between the end of March and the beginning of April, buds appear . The buds quickly open and reveal young shoots, before splitting . It is the fact that the bud splits that we call "budburst", since the bud then rejects the "bud", which is in reality the young shoot. This is a very sensitive stage in the life cycle of the vine, because the young shoots are then very fragile and very exposed to potential spring frosts .

The foliage

During the month of April, the young shoots turn into leaves, and they begin to develop . During the leafing phase, the leaves will then develop, unfold, spread out and will finally take on their final appearance.


From the end of May, after the leaves, it is the turn of the flowers to develop . Spring is well underway, temperatures are higher and the sun is more and more present. The flowers will then be able to bloom. The vine being a hermaphrodite plant, it is capable of self-fertilization. The small white flowers that appear during the ten days of flowering are already in the shape of a cluster. This is also a delicate stage since it is very dependent on the weather. If conditions are not optimal, and the region experiences an episode of rain, for example, fertilization may not take place correctly. The 100 day rule says that the harvest can be done 100 days after the flowering date.

Fruit setting

After flowering, it is always at least June, this is when the small white flowers gradually give way to grapes .

Leaf stripping

This is an important stage in working the vines. During this leaf stripping phase, summer continues, and the winegrower will have to remove the leaves which could prevent the bunches from sunbathing . The grapes in fact need optimal sunshine for better />


We are in the middle of July and the grapes are starting to color . For red grape varieties, the green berries turn blue, then black. For white grape varieties, the translucent berries turn golden. This is also when the grapes begin to fill with sugar .


The acidity of the grapes will gradually decrease , as the sugar accumulates in the berries. This stage will last between 30 and 55 days, starting in August. This is the crucial step that will determine the identity of the wine that will result from the berries. Once again, the weather plays an important role in the life cycle of the vine. Indeed, cool temperatures will leave the grapes acidic, where heat and sun will result in a much sweeter grape. When the quantities of acids and sugars are more or less balanced, the grapes are ripe: the harvest can begin .


Normally, you all know this step! Depending on the regions, the grape varieties, the weather conditions, and what the winegrower wants to do with his grapes, it is he who will set the precise date of his harvest . The grape harvest is generally a very festive event in each of the vineyards of France!


From November onwards, the leaves change color, turning red and yellow, then fall. The sap, for its part, goes back down into the roots. The vine then enters its winter cycle , whose main objective is to survive the winter. And this, until March, when its vegetative cycle will resume!

So. You now know everything about the life cycle of the vine... So, the next time you walk through a vineyard, don't forget to observe .

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