Write Off the Vine – Texas Wine News: January 31, 2010
Texas 2009 Vintage Report
from Wines and Vines by Ed Hellman, Viticulture extension specialist with contributions by regional viticulture advisors: Penny Adams, Fran Pontasch, Fritz Westover
• Late frost, hail and drought kept the overall harvest down by about 50%.
• Demand still outstrips supply; the state provided grants for expanded vineyard acreage.
A mild winter led to somewhat early bud break in 2009, followed by freeze events that caused damage throughout most of the state. The Texas High Plains had a low of 23 F on March 27, causing widespread injury to young shoots and swollen buds of many different varieties. However, delayed pruning and double-pruning strategies used by some High Plains vineyards were successful in postponing budbreak and obtaining full crops of Tempranillo, Vermentino and a few other varieties.
Several vineyards in the Hill Country employed sprinkler irrigation for frost protection, with varying success. Low dewpoint and windy conditions coincided with freezing temperatures, requiring high volumes of water application for effective protection. Secondary bud fruitfulness was notable among several varieties on the High Plains, including Viognier, Syrah and Zinfandel.
Fruit quality varied from average to good in the Hill Country and North Texas, although some exceptional fruit was harvested from Viognier, Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Franc in North Texas. Gulf Coast fruit quality was very good for both Blanc du Bois and Black Spanish. Fruit quality on the High Plains was generally good, with very good quality from Tempranillo, Viognier and Vermentino.