The weather hasn’t been very cooperative for Texas grape-growers this year, and that was just the start of the problems.
Growing grapes is the specialty of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension viticulture specialist Michael Cook, who says it has been wetter and warmer in some areas with unseasonable frost in others. “Grapes are grown in every part of the state,” he tells KTRH News, “from Tyler to Beaumont to the Rio Grande all the way up in Lubbock. Believe it or not Terry County, the high plains, is where most of our commercial wine grapes are grown.” The industry has been booming for the past ten years, and just this month the American Association of Wine Economists places the Lone Star State as the 4th most bountiful state for wineries. Texans love the local product.
And of course Covid has redefined everything this year. “Wineries are having to get clever, with how they market and sell their product, and growers, too, trying to get labor and have harvest parties which many of our Texas consumers are part of.” The Gulf Coasts has harvested its crops, and in other areas most of the green grapes are picked from the vines and the red grapes will soon follow.
With all the obstacles, yields are expected to be lower. It’ll be a couple years before the 2020 grown grapes will turn up in bottles of wine on stores shelves, but there will be a bit of history in those bottles. In the meantime, as wineries look to continue the Texas traditions and expand their national and international market share and stature, you can help by picking up a bottle of your local favorite this weekend.