grape growing adventures at Salado Vineyard

Merlot + Cabernet Sauvignon Harvest 2017

SATURDAY, August 5, 2017

Come pick grapes with us at the vineyard at 21724 Hill Road, Salado, TX! You can even eat some straight from the vine! Harvest is family friendly. Wear comfortable, cool clothing and tennis shoes. You’ll want to bring a hat, sunscreen, water, and bug spray. We’ll provide everything else you need. We will start bright and early at 7am and go until all the grapes are picked….#Wineryboy has been picking grapes since he was 1!

After harvest in the morning, you can join us at the winery to watch grape processing. The grapes will be de-stemmed and crushed using machines then prepared for fermentation. By late afternoon we will add the yeast and alcohol formation begins!

Invite your friends and follow the Merlot + Cab Harvest on Facebook

12th Annual Chardonnay Harvest, Saturday, July 22

Come pick grapes with us at the vineyard at 21724 Hill Road, Salado, TX! You can even eat some straight from the vine! Harvest is family friendly. Wear comfortable, cool clothing and tennis shoes. You’ll want to bring a hat, sunscreen, water, and bug spray. We’ll provide everything else you need. We will start bright and early at 7am and go until all the grapes are picked….#Wineryboy has been picking grapes since he was 1!

Hecho en Queso will be at the vineyard offering breakfast tacos for sale.

After harvest in the morning, you can join us at the winery to watch grape processing. The grapes will be de-stemmed and crushed using machines then prepared for fermentation. By late afternoon we will add the yeast and alcohol formation begins!

Invite your friends and follow the chardonnay harvest on facebook

Netting the vines 2017

It’s that time of year again!  Birds are starting to peck grapes and so we have installed the nets.

It takes most of the morning to stretch the nets out over the vines.  then t takes me about 3 days to close them all up.  Then I wrap the outside layer in a double layer of recycled netting.  This still does not eliminate animal damage, but at least it slows down the birds.  They still peck fruit that is near the netting, and the nets do little to stop raccoons and possums, but the nets can also slow down the deer who jump the fence.

I added some video for you so you can get an idea of the “crew coordination” that is required to lay the nets:

 

Hail in the Vineyard

leaf torn from hail

Texas grapegrowers pray often!  We’ve made it past late freezes here, but Mother Nature has another threat for us…

Texas storms can mean hail and we have seen some at our vineyard this spring.  This picture shows some minor damage that our vines suffered on April 10, 2017 in the mid-afternoon.  As you can see, the hail tore small bits of leaves, but luckily the grapes and grapevines did not sustain any damage.  We’ve got some vigorous vines and they will keep on growing just fine.

Some of our friends in the Texas High Plains were hit by hail recently as well.  Clearly the storm that hit them was much more severe than ours!

 

Cabernet Sauvignon Harvest 2016

One last chance this year to harvest grapes! Our Cabernet Sauvignon harvest will be Saturday, September 3.

How to Get There
The vineyard is at 21724 Hill Road, Salado, TX, 76571. Exit 279 I-35 and we’re just a quarter mile up Hill Road on the east side of I-35. The vineyard is on the right side of Hill Road. You’ll see the vines from the road!

What to Bring
We will start bright and early at 7 am and go until all the grapes are picked, usually before noon. Wear comfortable, cool clothing. You’ll want to bring a hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and lots of water to start with. We’ll provide everything else you need, including more cold water. If you have a favorite pair of pruners feel free to bring them, but we’ll have plenty for you. We recommend tennis shoes because sometimes there is stinging nettle or a hidden ant mound but you can wear sandals if you like. Sometimes folks like to wear light cotton gloves to protect your manicure or help prevent wasp stings, but there are no thorns on grape vines. Harvest is family friendly, so feel free to bring the kiddos…#Wineryboy has been picking grapes since he was 1!

The After Party
After harvest in the morning, you can join us at the winery to watch grape processing. The grapes will be de-stemmed and crushed using a machine then prepared for fermentation.

RSVP
If you’re coming, text your RSVP to 254.466.5813 or RSVP on Facebook.

FOOD!
Our friends at Hecho en Queso will be out at the vineyard until 10:30 or 11 the morning of Cab Sauv harvest, September 3. They’ll be serving up breakfast tacos and more, so make sure to come ready to eat!

Halfway through Harvest 2016!

watch out! it is going over!

watch out! it is going over!

Hey there, I wanted to give you a quick report of how things are going around here.  I don’t have long–if you look closely at that picture, you’ll see that malbec there is about to “boil over” and ferment right on out of that barrel!

This week I’ve got 1.5 tons of malbec fermenting from Temple, TX and .75 tons of merlot from our Salado vineyard fermenting.  We have already fermented the chardonnay, sangiovese and tempranillo.

So what’s left?  CABERNET SAUVINGNON!  Next weekend, Saturday, August 20, our friends at 3 Texans Vineyard will harvest their cab.  Follow the link and give them a holler if you would like to harvest grapes with them.  They are near Temple, Texas.

I haven’t even scheduled the harvest of our cab yet.  The weather is calling for a bit cooler temperatures, so hopefully that will help the plants ripen those grapes some more.  I will let you know soon, but probably harvest August 27 or September 3, 2016.

Well, that’s all for now, I’ve got some punching to do!

Harvest 2016–UPDATED!

Here are the 2016 chardonnay and sangiovese pickin' people

Here are the 2016 chardonnay and sangiovese pickin’ people

The harvest season is already half over and our plans have changed some.  The chardonnay and the sangiovese was harvested July 30th.  The merlot harvest has been pushed back to August 13 and the Cabernet Sauvignon might be ready before Thanksgiving!

Here is the plan as of August 1, 2016.

How to Get There
The vineyard is at 21724 Hill Road, Salado, TX, 76571. Exit 279 off I-35 and we’re just a quarter-mile up Hill Road on the East side of I-35. The vineyard is on the right side of Hill Road. You’ll see the vines from the road!

What to Bring
We will start bright and early at 7 am and go until all the grapes are picked, usually before noon. Wear comfortable, cool clothing. You’ll want to bring a hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and lots of water to start with. We’ll provide everything else you need, including more cold water. If you have a favorite pair of pruners feel free to bring them, but we’ll have plenty for you. We recommend tennis shoes because sometimes there is stinging nettle or a hidden ant mound but you can wear sandals if you like.  Sometimes folks like to wear light cotton gloves to protect their manicure or help prevent wasp stings, but there are no thorns on grape vines. Harvest is family friendly, so feel free to bring the kiddos…Dino has been picking grapes since he was 1!

The After Party
After harvest in the morning, you can join us at the winery to watch grape processing. Our grapes will be de-stemmed and crushed using a machine then the chardonnay will be pressed and red grapes will be prepared for fermentation.

RSVP
If you’re coming, text your RSVP to 254.466.5813 or RSVP on the Facebook event pages (links below), and we’ll let you know if the plan changes.  Otherwise, see you there!

pickingHarvest Day 2
Saturday, August 13 from 7 am – 10 am
Merlot (probably) grapes

Sign up online here so we know how many people to expect and invite your friends!

 

 

processing grapesHarvest Days 3
DATE TBD
Cabernet Sauvignon 

Check out our Facebook page for details on our last two grape varietals to be picked! It will likely be Saturday, August 20th or 27th.

Harvest 2016

rowsMake your Instagram friends super jealous! Come pick grapes with us at the Salado Winery Company vineyard. You can even eat some straight from the vine!

How to Get There
The vineyard is at 21724 Hill Road, Salado, TX, 76571. Exit 279 off I-35 and we’re just a quarter-mile up Hill Road on the East side of I-35. The vineyard is on the right side of Hill Road. You’ll see the vines from the road!

What to Bring
We will start bright and early at 7 am and go until all the grapes are picked, usually before noon. Wear comfortable, cool clothing. You’ll want to bring a hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and lots of water to start with. We’ll provide everything else you need, including more cold water. If you have a favorite pair of pruners feel free to bring them, but we’ll have plenty for you. We recommend tennis shoes because sometimes there is stinging nettle or a hidden ant mound but you can wear sandals if you like.  Sometimes folks like to wear light cotton gloves to protect their manicure or help prevent wasp stings, but there are no thorns on grape vines. Harvest is family friendly, so feel free to bring the kiddos…Dino has been picking grapes since he was 1!

The After Party
After harvest in the morning, you can join us at the winery to watch grape processing. Our grapes will be de-stemmed and crushed using a machine then the chardonnay will be pressed and red grapes will be prepared for fermentation.

RSVP
If you’re coming, text your RSVP to 254.466.5813 or RSVP on the Facebook event pages (links below), and we’ll let you know if the plan changes.  Otherwise, see you there!

barrel

Harvest Day 1
Saturday, July 30 from 7 am – noon
Chardonnay grapes

Sign up online here so we know how many people to expect and invite your friends!

 

 

 

pickingHarvest Day 2
Saturday, August 6 from 7 am – noon
Merlot (probably) grapes

Sign up online here so we know how many people to expect and invite your friends!

 

 

processing grapesHarvest Days 3 & 4
DATE TBD
Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes

Check out our Facebook page for details on our last two grape varietals to be picked! It will likely be Saturday, August 20th or 27th.

Cabernet Sauvignon Harvest–August 22

is that YOU in the big hat, picking grapes?

is that YOU in the big hat, picking grapes?

Saturday, August 22nd at 7:00 am, this is the last bunch for the 2015 season, and we welcome you to join us! The vineyard is at 21724 Hill Road, Salado, TX, 76571.

Wear sunscreen, bug spray and a big hat. If you have a favorite pair of pruners then bring them, but we’ll have plenty for you. Dress for heat, but be prepared for anything. I recommend shoes and socks because sometimes there is pigweed that stings or a hidden ant mound and I prefer a little protection for my toesies, but you can wear sandals if you like. Sometimes folks like to wear light cotton gloves, that might help prevent wasp stings, but there are no thorns, so gloves not required.

Families are welcome, the work isn’t hard, just the heat can be a bit discouraging. We will pick until all grapes are harvested, usually around 11 or 12 noon.

If you’re coming, text your RSVP to 254.466.5813, and I will let you know if the plan changes. Otherwise, see you there!

Then join us in the afternoon at the winery to witness the last crush of the season.  The cab sauv grapes will be destemmed, crushed and then I’ll add some yeast and let them start the fermentation.  The air conditioning is set to “cold” and this is the best time of the year to come check it all out.

Harvest will (probably) continue Saturday, August 22, 2015

notice the sprinkling of green grapes

notice the sprinkling of green grapes

The most important wine making decision is “when to harvest?”

At this point we have harvested 75% of the vineyard.  All that remains is the cabernet sauvingnon.  I went out and took a random sample yesterday, and what did I get?  Well, by the #’s, it looks fantastic!  Brix 24 degrees and pH 3.76, woohoo!

But, the truth is that about 15% of the grapes are still green, and that is no good for the quality wine we make at Salado Winery.  The photo with this post was taken on August 12, 2015.  The weather is not going to change much in the next 10 days, so?

So when will it be ready?  Well I am hoping for Saturday the 22nd.  I am trying to keep an eye on the pH, which will rise quickly, because I don’t want it to go sky-high.

I had this problem in 2013, and I compensated for a little under ripeness by blending with the 2012.  Another common technique is to use delestage to remove green seeds before they add any stringency.

Check back for an update next week!