Harvest Help with a Winery Dog
July 21, 2023


Texas is unique in the Wine World because of its size and location on the Gulf of Mexico. The area along the Gulf Coast is warmer during Winter with less frosts. The Gulf Coast region is unique with that warmth, but it is plagued with warm night temperatures and high humidity which is detrimental in growing the classic vitis vinifera grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon. However, hybrid grapes are grown along the predominantly as the type of grapes to grow in this hot, humid Summer. Grapes like Blanc du Bois are being harvested along the Texas Gulf Coast. The first grapes came to the local wineries on July 1st which is about a week earlier than normal. These grapes are being harvest with 20% sugars which is twice the level in most normal grocery store grapes. Bernhardt Winery hosted an Open House two Saturdays during their estate vineyard harvest followed by CRUSH where the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed in the winery, then pressed for juice only with the skins and seeds returned to the vineyards for mulching. People were invited to view the CRUSH inside an air conditioned building and even sample the honey-like grape juice with tones of melon and peach on the mouth. The grape harvest also occurred at Wild Stallion Vineyards with their Blanc du Bois Grapes harvested on June 17th and containerized and trucked to a remote CRUSH pad. This harvest of Blanc du Bois grapes and other hybrid grapes has now ended along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Meanwhile in the Texas Hill Country and areas to the north such as the Texas High Plains, the classic grapes are ripening quickly. These classic grapes require completely differently conditions with night temperatures in the 50’s to lower 60’s and dry warm to hot days. The conditions for these grapes have been very favorably with those grape vines producing normal production this year. The Viognier grapes at Flat Creek Estate Winery and Vineyards have ripened very early with grape harvest at their vineyards near Marble Falls last weekend. This is most unusual for a grape member of the vitis vinifera family to be harvested so early. More on the Texas grape harvest in coming columns.
Make plans to attend Harvest Festivals like Messina Hof Winery where you can have the opportunity to hand harvest grapes in the vineyards and bring the harvest to the CRUSH pad where the grapes will be mechanically de-stemmed and crushed with the white wine grapes going to the wine press. Messina Hof will also host grape-stomping contests where you can compete for bragging rights in this old-fashioned foot stomping of grapes. This 46th Annual Harvest Festival occurs during the first four weekends in August, starting with a Friday Midnight grape harvest at their Bryan vineyard. This winery started in the 1970’s and is now in its third generation providing great winery experiences along with outstanding, award-winning wines.For more information, go to www.messinahof.com.
Texas Restaurants Serving Texas Wines
The Honor Café in historic downtown Conroe proudly serves several Texas wines from Bernhardt Winery and Messina Hof Winery. Bernhardt wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Aggie Blush (a great Summer sipper). Messina Hof has its Cabernet Franc available to p air with your meal. These great Texas wines pair well with the varied menu from Honor Café from steak (red wines) to a Grilled Chicken Breast salad (Aggie Blush). I regularly go to Honor Café to enjoy their foods and wonderful Texas wines!

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