Tag Archive for: grapegrowing

Chardonnay + Sangiovese Harvest 2018

Saturday, July 28, 7:00 am

21724 Hill Road, Salado (I-35 exit 275, head east on Hill Road, look for vineyard on the right)

Make your Instagram friends super jealous! 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.

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

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 pressed and prepared for fermentation.

This will be the first half of the 2018 harvest at our vineyard.  The cabernet sauvignon + merlot harvest will be scheduled in August.


Evaluating Ripeness

evaluating ripeness

evaluating ripeness

Chardonnay: pH 3.55, Brix 19.2, TA 8.2 g/L, pineapple

Cabernet Sauvignon: pH 3.01, Brix 16.0, TA 12 g/L, sweet tart candy

Merlot:  pH 3.46, Brix 17, TA 8.8 g/L, peaches (a little tart)

Sangiovese: pH 3.21, Brix 17, TA 9.5 g/L green apple

3 Texan Malbec:  pH 3.53, Brix 20, TA 6.8 g/L strawberry

3 Texan Cab Sauv:  pH 3.18, Brix 19.6, TA 12 g/L rasberry iced tea

3 Texan Temp: pH 3.67, Brix 25, TA 5.2 g/L  plum


Mid-May 2015 in the vineyard

lots of rain and healthy grapes!

lots of rain and healthy grapes!

There was a break in the rain yesterday, so I went out and worked in the vineyard for a few hours.  I tucked vines up into the trellising, I pulled leaves in the fruit zone to improve air circulation, and I removed shoots that had little to no grapes on them as they are not needed.

Spring 2015 has been the wettest one in many years.  I am having flashbacks to 2007 when there was local flooding.  Other than hail, the main threats to our winegrape crop are downy mildew and grape berry moth.  We are managing both so far, but the forecast is for more rain, so we are crossing our fingers!

April 2015 in the Vineyard

look at these Mommy!

look at these Mommy!

Me and my helper, #wineryboy are keeping a close eye on the grapes as they develop this spring.  We have received plenty of rain, so the vines are growing like crazy.  The grapes are just tiny little balls, preparing to bloom.  In another week or two, they will be tiny blossoms. Domesticated grapes self-pollinate, so if the bees are on vacation, no big deal.  This is not true for wild mustang grapes which have a male and a female plant which have to be nearby for pollination to happen.

The biggest salvo that Mother Nature can throw at me right now is in the form of mildew.  I refer constantly to the chart at winegrapes.tamu.edu to keep up-to-date with a good fungicide program.  The next biggest threat is springtime hail.  There is nothing we can do for that, so we hold our breath and gulp our wine when the skies get dark.

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Beginning of Veraison

Go,go, merlot!

Go,go, merlot!

Boy was it windy this morning!  Gusts of 36 mph and I am trying to get ready for netting the vines this week.  The very first grapes are starting to hit veraison!  Now comes the hard part–battle with Mother Nature to get these grapes to the end without losing them to birds, deer, raccoon and rats!

Wildlife in the vineyard

lizard bird nestThe vineyard is looking pretty good. The fruit is all green and clusters are filling out. We’ve had some heavy rain lately and it is quite humid, so I am keeping quite a watch for fungus. Especially powdery mildew and downy mildew. I also try to scout for grape berry moth, but haven’t found much of the typical web in the grape clusters.

I DID however find a nice looking bird nest. The parent flew off when I approached with a loud flutter and gave the location away. I wouldn’t have noticed without the noise. I know it’s a great place for a bird, with the food being so close and all, but I REALLY wish they would go somewhere else.

For the first time, I found a LIZARD in the vineyard! There are lots of lizards around the winery, but I never see them out at the vineyard. The area is open grassland all around, but there are some trees near the road and perhaps this guy came from there since he turned up on that end of the vineyard. He was bigger than a tree lizard or anole. He made a noise like the previous bird and that was how I found him. What do you think, Texas Alligator Lizard?

Time for SEX in the Vineyard

sex in the vineyard

sex in the vineyard

I admit it, I am just trying to get your attention.  The sex I am referring to is the procreation of baby grapes.  Bloom has started.  What does that mean?  Let me copy from Ed Hellman on the Agrilife Extension page:

The grape flower does not have conspicuous petals, instead, the petals are fused into a green structure termed the calyptra, but commonly referred to as the cap. The cap encloses the reproductive organs and other tissues within the flower. A flower consists of a single pistil (female organ) and fivestamens, each tipped with an anther (male organ). The pistil is roughly conical in shape, with the base disproportionately larger than the top, and the tip (called the stigma) slightly flared. The broad base of the pistil is the ovary, and it consists of two internal compartments, each having two ovules containing an embryo sac with a single egg. The anthers produce many yellow pollen grains, which contain the sperm. Wild grapevines, rootstocks (and a few cultivated varieties such as St. Pepin) have either pistillate (female) or staminate male flowers — that is, the entire vine is either male or female. Vines with female, pistillate flowers need nearby vines with staminate or perfect flowers to produce fruit. The majority of commercial grapevine varieties have perfect flowers, that is, both male and female components.

An individual grape flower is shown with floral parts labeled.

The period of time during which flowers are open (the calyptra has fallen) is calledbloom (also flowering or anthesis), and can last from 1 to 3 weeks depending on weather conditions. Viticulturists variously refer to full bloom as the stage at which either approximately 50% or two-thirds of the capshave loosened or fallen from the flowers. Bloom typically occurs between 50 and 80 days after budburst.

Picture with grape parts labeled also from “Parts of the Grape Vine: Flowers and Fruit” by Ed Hellman on the Agrilife Extension website

Time to get the pruning done!

Wineryboy says the sun is out and it is time to prune the grapes!14 - 1