Late freezes. The dread of Texas vineyards. Here are a few more ideas for how vineyards in Texas handle late freezes in the spring.
Drew Tallent, of Tallent Vineyards, uses water. Robert Clay did a great report on the process on his web site. The report includes time lapsed video footage of the process and a great explanation of the process.
For our Viognier grapes, we have toyed with using evaporative cooling. We were so busy with other vineyard jobs this spring that we didn’t have it up and running, but we may consider it in the future again. Since Viognier is one of our earlier bud breaks we strategically prune it last to delay bud break.
At our vineyards, we have taken the approach that we want our vines to bud out as late in the spring as possible. We have chosen vinifera grapes that have later bud break such as Vermentino, Trebbiano, Roussanne, Marsanne, Moscato Giallo, Albarino and most of the reds. Unfortunately even some of these wonderful varieties are having trouble with the late freezes.
Another interesting idea that Nick and another grower tried last Friday on the 19th during that freezing weather was to hire a helicopter to fly over the vineyard. The idea is the inversion theory, displacing the colder air below with the warmer air above. This doesn’t work if there is much wind.
I guess it goes to show you that the crazy High Plains growers will try just about anything to save fruit that could make wonderful Texas wine.