November 25, 2022: 2022 Harvest Report
Every year we’re hopeful we’ll have the perfect growing season. Every year we’re dealt unique circumstances that impact the growing season. Every year customers are eager to hear how harvest went as it has a massive impact on the wines we produce. So here’s a bit about our 2022 growing season and harvest.
The start of the year started off looking perfect. We made it through the Spring without hail (unlike 2021) and the vines were all looking healthy. Our hopes were high that we’d end up with an elusive, perfect vintage like 2017. However, Texas experienced a drought. While we irrigated our vineyard in Brownfield (and in Fredericksburg), the drought was excessive and led to berries (grapes) not growing in line with expectations. The growth stalled out as the vines put all their energy toward surviving, rather than growing grapes. This led to a low yielding harvest, although some varietals came in closer to desired yield than others.
So what does that mean for winemaking? Low yields tend to make higher quality wines with more concentrated flavors, so the wines produced are expected to be fantastic. On the flip side, low yields mean that we cannot produce all the wines (varietals, blends) that we had planned. We solely use grapes from our own vineyards, so if there aren’t enough grapes, then we have to skip a vintage of a particular wine. We try to be as diplomatic as possible and make sure our vineyard’s clients (as in other wineries) get a share of the grapes when yields are low, so we do not hoard everything for ourselves.
We ended up being able to work with most of the varietals we had planned, though we didn’t have sufficient volumes to make all wines. For instance, we only made a Sangiovese Rose, rather than a single varietal Sangiovese and Sangiovese for a Re d’ Italia blend. Because of our estate-grown focus, that makes creating blends more challenging, so we tend to compensate by making higher volumes of blends in good years, as we know we won’t be able to make those blends every year. So what wines are in the works? Check it out!
- Malvasia Bianca
- Sangiovese Rose
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon – two clones
- Petit Verdot
Outside of varietals and yields, it was a very exciting harvest for us! It was our second vintage to make completely in house…and it was the very first vintage where grapes were optically sorted in Texas! We purchased a Pellenc optical sorting line in the Fall of 2021, and received the equipment just in time for 2022’s harvest. This equipment is discussed in more detail in another blog post, but it is truly revolutionary for wine, and we’re excited to be the ones to introduce it to Texas wine. It should elevate already high quality grapes (especially from the low yield) into a vintage that is truly special.