Our Vineyards are in Rapid Development as We Approach the Summer Solstice
By Quincy Barton, Vineyard Manager, Fall Creek Vineyards
The summer solstice is Saturday, June 20, at 4:44 p.m. CDT. This date marks the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Anyone who lives in Texas knows that it is already summertime. With the advent of summer, we are quickly making our way towards a very fruitful harvest this year at Fall Creek Vineyards.
The Natural Order of the Vineyard
With all the craziness and uncertainty in the world right now, we find comfort that life in the vineyard is still chugging along outside of the reach of the pandemic’s influence. During the spring, our vines followed the natural order from emerging from dormancy, to flowering, to fruit set and now getting ready for the next stages of development. It is the kind of normalcy we like to see. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how unbalanced everything is around us, the vineyard with all its normal processes and progression presses on. It appears there is no lack of intuition for the vines in uncertain circumstances…it simply knows exactly what to do and executes it beautifully.
We have seen healthy growth this year with the plentiful rains. With warmer, sunnier days ahead, the fruit is well on its way to greatness. Average high temperatures have climbed from 80 in April, to 87 in May, and likely will be in the low 90s in June and high 90s in July helping our grapes to ripen fully by late July and early August. We have had quite a few remarkable thunderstorms here in the hill country over the past month, but our vineyards have fared well so far. We continue to monitor every day for threats such and hail and high winds.
With steadily climbing temperatures, the vines starting to prepare for a growth stage referred to as “veraison.” This is when the green grape clusters begin to change color and the sugars begin to accumulate (this is my favorite time of year). Our Tempranillo vines in the Salt Lick Vineyard have already entered veraison. The name, Tempranillo, comes from the Spanish word temprano, meaning “little early,” and is fitting for this early ripening grape. This year we had veraison set in about two weeks earlier than previous years, signaling that we could have an early harvest.
Heading Toward A Bountiful Harvest
From this point forward, the dark purple pigmentation will increase in our red varietals and the sugars will develop even further as the acids begin to decrease and soften. It is important at this stage to continue to moderate the disease pressure for both fungal and pests for the vines. By doing so, we allow the vine to stay as healthy as possible and as free from stress as possible as it moves towards fruit ripening. I have even been letting Brinkley, my vineyard-dog-in-training, tag along with me to alleviate some of the issues from deer and other small pests. He has been very enthusiastic and extremely effective!
With every additional year of maturity of the vines in the estate Oxbow vineyard, we see more vigor and higher fruit yield. We have thus far been very impressed with the high-quality wines they are producing. We cannot wait to share some of these wines with you soon!
As we all know, vitamin D is the best medicine for a lot of things, so come on out, grab a bottle or two, and socially distance yourself on the property and out amongst the vines. Check out the pop-up garden that our great friends at the Plastic Pink Flamingo have set up-it is a beautiful spread and the perfect way to kick of the summer.