TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The hot and dry weather over the summer damaged many crops, including grape vines used for wine production in East Texas. Despite the challenges, your glass of wine might taste better this year.
Many East Texas wineries have lost crops because of the extreme heat over the summer. Kiepersol Winery and Vineyard staff say they were forced to adapt. “There is the trauma part and then there is the abundance!” said Kiepersol Founding Brand Manager, Kelly Doherty.
Extreme weather like drought or the 2021 winter storm isn’t the only challenge this winery has faced. “We’ve never seen that before with the snow and ice as you guys remember and we did lose 60 percent of our vines,” said Doherty.
Since then, they have planted new grape vines that are now 18-months old. Fortunately, the East Texas clay soil helps the grape vines grow since they prefer a strenuous environment.
“We do have the drought this year that everybody is very aware of. But, those are vigorous vines and they’re brand new and ready to hit the scene. Our vineyard crew has actually been hand watering everything because we do need a lot more water than what our irrigation system was used to. They’ve been hand watering everything this year and because of that we have an abundant crop,” said Doherty.
“In a drought year where it was really hot, that was just another stress on top of winter injured tissues that added to a lot of crop loss,” Texas A&M Agriculture Program Specialist and Viticulturist, Fran Pontasch said.
Because of these historic weather events, there may not be as many grapes. But, the quality of your wine will be much higher.
“Their quality is due to the weather. Now the size of the yields, the crop yield, very very low crop yields, that’s also due to the weather. The good news is it’s going to make good wine. So, the vintage for this year will have on the bottle 20-22 as a vintage,” said Pontasch.
Despite the recent drought-like conditions, Kiepersol says they are pretty happy with the abundance of high-quality grapes. “I do want to say look out for Texas wines, once they bottle which will be in about 6 months for the whites and up to 3 years for the reds, 2022 will be a good buy,” Pontasch said.
Experts say the smaller the grapes, the better your wine will taste.