A harvest time bonus is the sweet scent of grapes in the air

Harvesting takes place throughout Texas, as well as in California and Europe. What makes Texas so special is that we host volunteer harvest parties at various wineries, especially in the Texas Hill Country.

Because the high plains of Texas are flat, this area is suitable for mechanical harvesting of grapes. In many areas, the Texas Hill Country needs human pickers, not mechanical pickers, as the vineyards can be steep. Flat Creek Estate Winery and Vineyard near Marble Falls harvested its Montepulciano grapes this week with volunteers munching on tacos for breakfast before harvesting the grapes until lunch, then sipping wine during lunch to celebrate the hours of harvest.

The fun during harvest is tasting the grapes and chewing those brown, nutty grape seeds from the vines. Later, you can watch the harvested grapes pass through the destemming/crushing machine. Other wineries like Messina Hof in Bryan have a whirlwind of visitors to harvest certain rows for a half hour harvest followed by the CRUSH grape. The only thing I love about Harvest and CRUSH is the smell in the air.

William Chris Winery near Fredericksburg hosts one-of-a-kind parties that allow you to experience the smells and sights of the physical hitting of the grape skin “capsules” released from the CO2 gases of the yeast eating the grape sugars and turning into alcohol that forces the grape skins to consolidate at the top of the fermentation tank. It is hard work to re-immerse these “plugs” of grape skin to physically push them down with a stainless steel pusher at the ends of a stick to force these skins back into the fermenting grape juice . The purpose of this exercise is to put these skins back into the fermenting juice to absorb the tannins and esters from these skins into the wine. If these skins were not reimmersed in the fermenting juice, the floating skins could condense so dense that they could support a human on this “floating island”. For more information, visit www.WilliamCrhisWines.com.

The air has an aura of sweet grape scent in the air dominated by the grape characteristics of the picked varietals. The sweetness comes from grape juices in picking bins with sugar levels between 25-30%. Plus, puffs of green apple and pear from Chardonnay or bouquets of black cherry from Cabernet Sauvignon waft through the air. Of course, birds and small mammals like raccoons love to visit vineyards to satisfy their “sweet tooth.”

Many vineyards placed their bird netting on their vines several weeks ago to keep birds out. Some vineyards use bird cannons while others use raptor housing to act as a deterrent system to prevent these grape-stealing birds from entering the vineyards. Either way, Mother Nature throws challenges at vineyard owners. One of the biggest challenges, especially in Texas, are those erratic summer thunderstorms that can dump one or two of rain in localized areas, forcing vineyard owners to rush harvest due to low pressure. tropical climate with rain or to delay the harvest by seven to ten. days because of the rain which dilutes the sugars in the grapes. Either way, parties in Texas happen with the grape harvest since Texans know how to have fun, especially in the vineyards and wineries. For winery harvest festivals, go to www.TxWines.org and click “Find Texas Wineries” for a complete list of Texas wineries.

Texas Restaurants Serving Texas Wines

Max’s Wine Dive on Washington Avenue is a wonderful place to hang out with Houston’s elite. They proudly serve Lost Draw Marsanne wine from the Texas Hill Country. This white wine has peach and apricot tones with hints of honey to accompany Max’s summer salads.

Ron Saikowski can be reached at [email protected]

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