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Growing Grapes in Texas

Growing Grapes in Texas

So how would you grow grapes in a hot humid state like Texas? What are the facts surrounding growing grapes in Texas? Would it be really be possible? Read on

Growing Grapes in Texas and Texas Wine

Did you know that Texas had its own grape farm established since the early 1662 by Franciscan Priest? They have brought grape seedlings to Texas as a possibility of fermenting their own wines and just for consumption, these varieties of grapes are resistant to the hot climate of Texas. Over the years these grape varieties have been accustomed to the soil and climate of Texas, What specific variety of grapes you can grow in Texas? Here are the lists:

Growing Grapes in Texas and wine variety

Cynthiana

Also known as Norton. An American hybrid grape generally used to make red wine. These grapes have been successfully can be grown in Texas north of San Antonio.Venus – This hybrid has Zinfandel in its parentage and produces sweet aromatic red wine. It is typically grown in northern Texas.

Blanc du Bois

An American hybrid with Italian Muscat in its heritage. Primarily grown in Southeast Texas, this grape produces wine with high marketability. It is popular among grape growers for it’s resistance to Pearce’s Disease – a fatal bacterial disease that can affect an entire vineyard. Blanc du Bois is typically used to make white table wine.

Black Spanish

Also known as Lenoir or Jacquez. Used in southern France in the mid-1700s, this grape is of American heritage. It is resistant to Pearce’s Disease (described above), and therefore has been grown primarily in southeast and central Texas. Has been used to make Texas Port for many years, and recently has been successfully used to make red table wine.

Favorite

A clone of Black Spanish, this grape has higher yields and is even more disease resistant than Black Spanish. The vines were first cloned near Brenham, Texas, and continue to be grown primarily in southeast Texas. Similar to Black Spanish, Favorite is used to make red wines.

Muscadines

These grapes are genetically different than viniferous grapes and the grapes described above. They have 40 chromosomes as opposed to 38, which are present in the above. These grapes are well adapted to the humid growing condition of east Texas.

European Grapes Commonly Grown in Texas

Cabernet Sauvignon

(Kab-er-nay So-vee-nyonh)

The king of red wine grapes does well over much of Texas, but especially well above 3,000 feet in elevation. Excellent wines made from this grape have been made by many Texas wineries and enjoyed by many consumers of Texas wines.

Merlot

(Murr-low)

This classic French grape makes a soft, full-bodied, red wine similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, but is easier to drink. This variety does well over the western 1/2 of Texas, but does extremely well above 3,000 feet in elevation.

Ruby Cabernet

This grape variety was developed by the University of California to be a hot weather Cabernet Sauvignon. It has extremely good color and seems to be best used when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or with a white wine to make a blush.

Sangiovese

This Italian grape variety is has great potential to do extremely well in the hot Texas climate.

Syrah or Shiraz

This French grape made “famous” by Australia may be the best red grape variety for many areas of Texas. It color and taste are extremely good under a wide diversity of growing conditions. It is somewhat cold sensitive, especially when it is young.

Tempranillo

This Spanish grape is very new to Texas and is already showing great potential, especially in North Texas. The future for this variety in Texas appears to be bright.

Cabernet Franc

(Kab-ernay Franh)

This classic French variety has does best on the South Plains or in extreme North Texas. Often it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Petite Verdot

This classic French variety is relatively new to Texas and is used almost exclusively for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chardonnay

(shar-doh-nay)

Makes white wine. This grape is challenging to grow for much of Texas because it buds out early in the season, which makes the grapes subject to late spring freezes. Widespread recognition among consumers places this wine on most winery lists. It is susceptible to Pierce’s Disease. Wine from chardonnay grapes is typically aged for 12-13 months.

Chenin Blanc

(She-nahn blanh)

Makes white wine. The grape does well in most parts of the state. Typically dryer than chardonnay, it is less known by consumers and thus more difficult to find on winery lists. It is most often used for blending. Tight clusters make the grape prone to bunch/sour rot. It is also susceptible to Pierce’s Disease.

Sauvignon Blanc

(So-vee-nyonh blanh)

Makes white wine. Sauvignon Blanc does well in the western half of Texas. It can make a wonderful wine, but there is not a large market for this variety. Similar to Chenin Blanc, it is dryer than chardonnay, making it more difficult to find on winery lists. Tight clusters make the grape prone to bunch rot. It is also susceptible to Pierce’s Disease.

Pinot Grigio

(Pea-no gree-gee-o )

An Italian grape variety that seems to be adaptable to the hot Texas climate. It makes a simple, clean, dry white wine. While there is only a small amount currently planted it should increase in acreage over time.

Riesling

(Reez-ling)

A German grape variety that is adapted to the colder regions of Texas. Wines from this grape, while sold as varietals, are often blended with a red wine to make blush wines.

Muscat Blanc/Muscat Canelli

(Muss-cat Ka-nell-ee)

This floral grape variety is a favorite of most winery tasting rooms and makes an excellent white, cocktail wine or a wine that goes with chocolate desserts. This variety does best in the western 1/2 of Texas, but can be found growing in other parts of Texas.

Orange Muscat

This citrus tasting variety is proving to be a very good grape for the South Plains of Texas. It may do well in other areas too. Most often these grapes are used in making dessert wines.

Gewurztraminer

(Gay-vertsh-trah-mee-ner)This spicy, aromatic grape variety has proven to grow successfully on the South Plains of Texas.

Malvasia Bianca

This Italian grape variety is very similar in taste to Muscat blanc. It can be used in the same way as Muscat blanc.

Pinot Blanc

(Pea-no blanh)

This rather neutral variety does well in North Texas and can be used as a neutral white table wine or as the base for a very nice sparkling wine.

Viognier

(VEE-ohn-yay)

Reasonably difficult grape to grow, as it is somewhat more prone to disease than other varietals and can be unpredictable in its yield. It is, however, reasonably drought resistant. The distinctive aroma of peaches, apricots, and violets is a hallmark of Viognier.

Okay we have the list, assume that we are planting this in Texas what do we need to get this grapes start planting? Well same process as we have stated in the previous article but we have to add some specific step to have more quality produce

1. Water rations, remember having to grow grapes in a hot humid environment requires more water, the soil could dry up easily , water grape seedlings as you see the land dry up, it may be better to invest a water sprinkler system for this

2. Control environment: Not much like a green house but a place with covering where the trellis could be monitored, water, humidity etc will be possible; this technique has been long adopted in the old times even in hot places like Iraq or any hot environment.

3 Check for fungi, always apply fungicide in the first sign of infection, in a hot climate fungi could grow fast and infest the vines

This is how you grow grapes in Texas; feel free to add your comments below.

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