CENTRAL TEXAS — February's cold wave ushered in a tough growing season for many Texas crops and plants, and vineyards were no exception.
Despite major losses in grape crops being reported in vineyards throughout the state, some wineries in Central Texas were able to weather the storm. The cold snap was bad enough, but a series of wet weeks that followed compounded the issue. As the extreme weather unfolded, staff at 3 Texans Winery say all they could do was watch it happen and hope for the best.
"You just kinda, you leave it up to mother nature like we said before and just pray to the god you pray to and hope it comes through for you and these plants wake up," said assistant vineyard manager Matt May.
Emerging on the other side of the deep freeze, the winery found that they had lost some vines, but a stroke of good fortune ensured the damages were manageable. Jeremy Austin, vineyard manager with 3 Texans, attributes it to luck.
"Farming is a lot of luck. I mean, we rely on mother nature. She kind of dictates how good sometimes our years are and how awful they are," said Austin.
After the cold came the excessive rain. The rapid growth of the grapes posed new challenges for Austin and his crew. Not only did the rain accelerate the growth of the grapes but it also brought upon fungus problems.
"Been, uh, kind of a struggle the past month getting bird netting out," said Austin. "You know, little stuff like that, because, you know, with it you've got weed control, ground control."
Despite all the curve balls thrown their way, 3 Texans Winery and Vineyard was able to put together a promising crop of grapes. The first variety of grapes should be ready to harvest later this month. They will be collecting grapes from the vines through September. Lately the weather has been working in their favor.
"We've got green grass, rain, a breeze and it's maybe 90 degrees. Normally it's 105. That's been, you know, very conducive to what we're trying to do here," said May.
The loss of some vines may not provide the biggest crop this year, but the crew is optimistic that a high standard of quality and quantity will be met.
"I think we'll hit a happy medium on, in both regards, both metrics," said May.
Country Spring Vineyard was also able to report encouraging news. They say they are thankful that all of their vines made it through the winter intact, and that they are looking forward to a successful harvest.