2020 Texas Hill Country Harvest Forecast
Harvest season is upon us in The Texas Hill Country! Late Summer, just before dawn; you’ll start to see harvesters in the vineyards collecting bunches of ripened grapes. Texas Wine Harvest starts earlier in the East and moves West across the state. In Texas, there are eight American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). These include the High Plains AVA, which produces over 80 percent of the state’s wine grapes and the Texas Hill Country AVA, which is the 3rd largest AVA in the United States. We are excited to say that 2020 Texas Hill Country Harvest forecast is expected to be excellent despite some inclement weather conditions during the growing season.
Fickle Texas weather can make or break a grape harvest in the Texas Hill Country and Texas High Plains where most fruit is grown. An early fall freeze in October threw most growers a curveball in the Texas High Plains. While the freeze kept wine growers on their toes, this year’s harvest is predicted to be rich in quality. Typically an early freeze produces lower-yielding but higher quality grapes, and this year is no different! In 2019 we saw heavy rains throughout the year. While rain showers are great for the parched ground, it can present challenges for growers in having to manage mildew and bunch rot. Even with the added stress of heavy rains, The Texas Hill Country is expected to have an early harvest.
This year’s harvest will be different from any other with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Wineries have the added challenge of navigating harvest under social distancing protocols to keep employees and volunteers safe. Forecasting volume has become another challenge for growers as wine bottles sales at the tasting rooms have slowed. Grapes that are harvested now will be produced into wine that will be released early in 2021. Currently, growers are weighing out how much fruit should be used for wine production and how much should be stored for future vintages. Although COVID presents unique challenges, wineries welcome volunteers to help with the harvest! If you have never volunteered, then you are missing out on an exciting time in the vineyard. Harvest happens before the sun comes up and you’ll be able to see the vineyard unlike any other time of year. The vines will be heavy with beautiful, ripe grapes, and you’ll get inside look into what it takes to make Texas wine. There is no doubt you will walk away with a memory you’ll never forget. If you are interested in participating in the harvest, be sure to check each wineries website and social media for volunteer opportunities. Oh, and don’t forget your hat and sunscreen!
We asked our winegrowers, “What’s one thing you’d like Texas wine lovers to know?” One of the biggest things our growers would like for you to know is that wine is an agricultural product. There is so much that happens behind the scenes to produce award-winning wines. Unlike beer or spirits, wine is a living thing that changes from year to year. Recipes can’t be replicated, and there is beauty in its unique nature. Growing grapes is a labor of love that requires constant nurturing, as one bad bout of weather can wipe out or profoundly affect the crop. Growers are always thinking on their feet to best combat the elements, wildlife, and diseases. While there are many risks to growing grapes and bringing in a good harvest, making exceptional is always worth it!
Growers and vineyards have experienced many challenges over the year, which have led to concerns, but the 2020 Texas Hill Country harvest forecast is expected to be great! The potential for 2020 wine is exciting as we expect unique, high-quality grapes to be harvested this year. This year’s harvest is a prime example of when quality trumps quantity! Stay up to date on harvest season by liking us on Facebook or following us on Instagram @texashillcountrywine.