April 17, 2020


Day 932 of captivity. Well, it just seems like it with the ongoing pandemic. However, Texas wines are still flowing at our home with grocery stores like HEB and Kroger’s supplying a lot of Texas wines. As a matter of fact, HEB is Texas’ largest wine retailer! That is amazing since HEB stores are not yet in the DFW area. With restaurants being forced for pick up or delivery of foods, the TABC has loosened its grip on wine deliveries and allowing the flow of wine deliveries WITH food. In many cases, the cost of wine by the bottle from restaurants is less than retail stores.
Wineries are still operating, but are closed to the public just like restaurants. As a result, tasting rooms are closed throughout the world. However, many wineries are hosting virtual tastings. Wineries like Kuhlman Cellars, Los Pinos Winery, William Chris Winery, and many other Texas wineries are hosting virtual wine tastings. Wines can be ordered online or picked up at the wineries with advance orders. Many wineries are discounting their wines and providing free direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping which include instructions on accessing free virtual wine tastings. Those wine tastings can be accessed 24/7 on YouTube or Facebook. However, several wineries use ZOOM for their virtual tastings which allow for all on the ZOOM view to comment and ask questions. These ZOOM meetings are then placed on YouTube and FaceBook. If you have a SMART TV, you can view on the large screen via the re-broadcast sessions. I have not figured out how to access ZOOM on my SMART TV. If you have, please let me know how! Friday evenings are fun to ZOOM into the Bending Branch Winery evening tastings hosted the winery staff including Dr. Robert W Young, a retired epidemiologist from Atlanta, Georgia who found his way to Texas. My ZOOM question to Dr. Young was “how much wine should one consume daily to be immune to COVID19? I got the Doc’s thoughts, but what are yours? Please continue to buy Texas wines via the grocery stores, restaurants, and wineries since our wineries rely upon it. In reality, wine sales are soaring during our pandemic. Keep up the great work on that wine consumption.
The bad news at wineries is that Tasting Rooms are closed. In addition, winery events like concerts, special lunches and dinners, receptions and weddings have stopped entirely as a result of Governor Abbot’s State Executive Order dealing with gatherings of ten or more. Many Texas wineries got half of their income from such special events. However, you can still be involved with some of the concerts on a virtual basis via FaceBook. Bernhardt Winery is well known for its Sunday evening concerts. Jerry and Jerri Bernhardt have been broadcasting their concerts on Facebook. Please check out these FREE concerts and then come out to support them when the pandemic is over!
I am watching the weather. Our local weather in southeast Texas is awesome. However, the Texas High Plains experienced freezes this week. The Texas High Plains is above 3,000 feet above sea level and produces about 75% of the Texas grapes. A lot of the Texas High Plains was marginally in the freezing category with temperatures slightly above 30 degrees earlier this week. The grape vines are in a fragile place in their growth with vines budding and flowering. The extent of the damage to unprotected vineyards is unknown and will not be known as to its magnitude until next week. There will be a lot of frozen vine buds on growing shoots, but the big concern is on the flowering berry clusters. If those clusters are damaged, the grape vines will go into a secondary flowering in a few weeks which is a mechanism in the vine’s DNA to produce some fruit, but much less than would have been produced. This possible secondary flowering will also delay the grape harvest. More on this High Plains freeze impact to the Texas grape crop next week.

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