Texas Wine Events
Wine Events Texas
First, let's look at events in the vineyard...
In the vineyard pruning usually takes place in January. Dry shoots are painstakingly cut away by hand. If you have access to any clippings, soak them in water to use on your next barbecue for added flavor.
In the winery barrels are carefully maintained. The winemaker may elect to bottle older wines.
In the vineyard pruning continues while vines are dormant. Trellises, stakes and wires are mended. Farmers plan new and replacement grapevine plantings.
In the winery barrels are "topped up" with extra wine to reduce the air space caused by evaporation and wine contraction in the cold weather. Topping up helps prevent oxidation. Wine samples from barrels are analyzed for quality. This regime varies by winery but occurs at different time points throughout the process.
In the vineyard, farmers are preparing the ground for the new year by plowing and other forms of weed control. New vines are planted as needed. In late March, vines in warmer areas come to life as bud break begins.
Winemakers are bottling wines from earlier vintages and wines that will not be aged in barrels.
Bud break continues from March. Vineyard keepers get busy desuckering, or removing non fruit bearing shoots to concentrate the vine's energy. Flowering will begin 6 – 13 weeks after bud break. This is a time when many vineyards have the traditional Blessing of the Vines ceremony.
In the winery newly fermented wines are racked, or moved from one container to another to leave behind sediment. This may occur three or four times in the wine's first year.
In the vineyard, protection from late frosts is of major concern in April and early May. Everything from portable heaters to helicopters for breaking up cold air may be employed if threats are present. New growth is vigorous and new shoots are pruned to concentrate energy into remaining branches. Wires may be used to direct growing patterns. Flowering usually begins in May.
In the winery, wine club orders are organized and prioritized to avoid shipping in the heat of upcoming months. Winery events are at a peak to make the most of the wonderful Spring greenery and weather.
In the vineyard, fruit set finishes and grape ripening begins. The grower finishes positioning shoots by attaching them to wires to ensure appropriate sun exposure for grapes as leaves grow.
In the winery fine wines are often re-racked prior to summer heat. Wine club orders are completed early in anticipation of rising temperatures. Winery events and celebrations continue.
In the vineyard grapes begin verasion - the softening and changing of colors as they ripen. Excess rain and humidity can promote fungal diseases. Spraying for pests and disease is often required.
In the winery, fine wines that have aged the desired amount of time are bottled. Fourth of July celebrations and festivals occur throughout the country. The lazy days of summer set in.
In Texas vineyards in the warmer regions of the state such as the Hill Country, verasion has completed and harvesting begins. In south Texas harvesting may have begun as early as mid-July. In cooler areas of the state, harvest may begin in September or even October. Farmers have been busy fending off birds and insects to allow the grapes to achieve ideal ripeness. Grapes are picked by hand or with mechanical harvesters, often in the coolness of the night to best preserve the character of the fruit.
In the winery, this is the most grueling time of the year. Vintners work around the clock to prepare the winemaking equipment and additives such as yeast, acid, sugar, sulfur dioxide, etc., to receive the new harvest. Grapes are crushed. Red grapes are put into fermentation tanks with their skins. Grapes for white wine have their juice pressed off and the skins discarded so as not to take on the color of the skins before fermentation.
In Texas vineyards the grape harvest wraps up and farmers have a chance to unwind after those grueling 16 + hour days. Sunny weather helps vines build carbohydrate reserves to make it through the winter and produce new shoots in the spring.
In the winery, the grape skins (called the cap), which float to the top during red wine fermentation, are "punched down" on a daily basis to aerate the wine, moisten the skins, and promote color extraction. This can be done by hand or machine.
September is a great month for festivals and events to celebrate the new vintage.
In the vineyard the photosynthesis process continues to create carbohydrate reserves to store in trunks and roots. When enough reserves have built up in the grapevines, the leaves begin to change colors.
In the winery this is the time when fermentation begins to wind down. When fermentation is complete, wines are racked or transferred to fresh containers to remove the lees (dead yeast and debris that settles to the bottom). The containers are often oak barrels, especially for red wine. It is important to minimize oxygen exposure throughout the cycle.
OCTOBER IS TEXAS WINE MONTH!!
In the vineyard leaves turn yellow, gold and sometimes a brilliant red. After the first frost, leaves drop off and vines begin to go dormant. Cover crops are sometimes sown between rows at this time.
In the winery red wines in their second year may be clarified. This takes place through a process called fining. Fining agents such as egg whites, clay or gelatin are added to attract particles and help settle them to the bottom of the barrels.
In the vineyard clippings may be taken from dormant vines for propagation in the spring. Winter pruning often begins and ends in January.
In the winery, early tastings take place to assess the progression and quality of different lots of wine. Malolactic fermentation or conversion is underway for most reds and the white wine, Chardonnay. The malolactic conversion phase introduces lactic bacteria cultures to convert malic acid into softer lactic acid into the winemaking process after initial fermentation is complete.