September 3, 2021

Texas Grapes Are Coming in and Beyond Labor Day

This weekend is a three-day weekend with Labor Day on Monday. Normally, we start to transition to the Fall with cooler temperatures on the way. This Labor Day marks the transition from lighter clothing, lighter foods, and lighter wines to heavier clothing as the weather cools. In addition, our foods normally get heavier as we transition to red wines which are heavier.
Texas is enjoying another great year of a quality harvest through the Labor Day weekend. Grape quantities are down this year since all of Texas, including grape vines suffered through the February Freeze. The grapes have been harvested along the Gulf Coast and the Texas Hill County. The grapes on the Texas High plains have everyone abuzz about 2021 being another awesome year for Texas! About 80% of the Texas grapes are harvested on the flat lands of the Texas High Plains. These flat lands make harvesting grapes easy with mechanical grape harvesters. These machines have vibrating sides on each side of the rows of grape vines guided by a wheeled mechanism. About 100 grape pickers equal the daily output of just one mechanical harvester. With COVID19 and lack of farm hands, Texas is not being impacted unlike California with its steeply sloping vineyards and lack of farm hands during this pandemic. These machine-harvested grapes come into the winery cleaner and faster than hand-harvested grapes. As a result of a faster accumulation of grapes via mechanical harvester, the grapes arrive at the wineries in less than 90 minutes vs. several hours of vineyard storage and accumulation of grapes to justify transportation to the winery by truck. The grapes that arrive faster from mechanical harvest have a temperature about one to two degrees above ambient air temperature. However, grapes that have to reside in the vineyards for hours start fermentation via rogue yeasts and bacteria. Winemakers have no control over these rogue fermentations and sometime have unusual tastes that the winemaker does NOT want to have in his wines. With this type of mechanical harvesting, Texas wineries are experiencing better quality grapes at the winery. Although the final end of the grape harvest is several weeks away, most everyone agrees that Texas is finding its identity and making lots of award-winning wines. As we look into another quality grape harvest, it appears that Texas is poised to continue to earn the recognition it has earned year after year with more Gold Medals and Double Gold Medals.
On a different note, California is experiencing wild forest fires, especially near the areas of vineyards. Grapes in California have not been harvested to the extent that is seen in Texas. As a result, these grapes could experience smoke taint before grapes are harvested.
The Ferm Meadery
Mike and Cathy Rape have opened The Ferm Meadery at 225 Simonton on the south side of the Montgomery Courthouse. The Meadery is open Thursday through Sunday from 2 to 6 pm with hours extending up to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday. Mead wine is made from the sugars in honey mixed with water and fermented, hence their name The Ferm. I am impressed by the quality of their Mead and the fun atmosphere. Their Mead is similar to what we normally perceive as a wine made from grapes. While tasting an unadulterated Mead, I could sense the flowers that the bees visited to gather pollen which is used to make the honey used in the Mead. I hope you will join me in supporting our latest addition to historic downtown Conroe. It is definitely worth your time to visit and taste their wines which have a wide variety of tastes with additives included to enhance the wines aka Meads.
Blue Epiphany Vineyards
Conroe’s original winery, Blue Epiphany Vineyards, is located at 400 Bryant Road on the north side of Conroe. They have recently opened their downtown tasting room adjacent to the University of St. Thomas at the southeast corner of North Main and West Davis Streets. Their wines are outstanding with two of their red wines earning Double Gold Medals in International Wine Competition. This winery is operated by five men who have strong ties to law enforcement.
Bernhardt Winery Concerts
The Bernhardt winery folks are looking forward to sharing their wines, stories, poetry, and music with you! Jerry and Jerri Bernhardt invite you to join them on the north winery lawn for another year of Sunday evening concerts paired with fellowship and great wines. The reputation for the Bernhardt Winery concerts has grown over the years with large crowds enjoying each other, Bernhardt Winery Wines, great foods, and outstanding music. I suggest getting to the winery to stake out your perfect spot with your chairs and tables, foods, and of course your choices in Bernhardt Wines. You can bring your own foods or buy available foods on the winery site. This winery is both kid and dog friendly, but you still must take full responsibility for both! You can bring it ALL to the winery concerts, EXCEPT outside alcohol since the TABC says that is a BIG No-No! There is a cover charge of $10 to $15 depending on the concert for those over 18 with youngsters and dogs free. Upcoming Sunday concerts include:
• September 5th – Barracuda, a Hearts Tribute Concert
• September 12th – Blood Red Sky, a U2 Tribute
• September 19th – Lost Shaker of Salt, a tribute to Jimmy Buffet
• September 26th – Double Vision, a tribute to Foreigner
• October 3rd – Already Gone, an Eagles Tribute Concert
• October 10th – The Fab Five, a Beatles Tribute
• October 17th – VagabLonde –a Rod Stewart Tribute
• October 24th – Shake Russell and Michael Hearn
Bernhardt Winery is also putting on Saturday afternoon acoustic concerts starting around 1:30. These free Saturday events are also paired with other Saturday on goings at the winery. To further enjoy these concerts, I suggest bringing lots of friends.

Leave your comment

Please enter your name.
Please enter comment.