Recently I asked Seth Martin, winemaker and owner of Perissos Vineyard and Winery whom I profiled here, about the status of the 2011 Texas wine grape harvest. I was well aware that 2010, a stellar year, would be a tough act to follow. He was kind enough to send photos of his grapes.
Martin talks about the 2011 harvest from his vineyards close to Burnet in the Hill Country. “I’d say excellent. The biggest single variable is that we did not have any late freezes at our place,”Martin said. “We have had enough water to keep the vines from dehydrating too much and as of the past week or so the wind has backed off a bit. Because of the lack of rainfall and unseasonable heat (3.7″ of rain since January) the disease pressure has been low.”
He sent this picture of his Syrah. Note how much vivid blue coloration is present in the grape skins. That means that they are close to ripeness so Martin must monitor the must weight (sugar), total acidity and pH of the grapes on a daily basis in order to catch what may be a spike in levels in a very short time. “So, overall I’d have to call this a good year so far,” Martin said. ” If we don’t get any rain, which I actually don’t want at this point, then the harvest will be early 9like 2009) and we can wait for mature flavors to develop. Sugars are starting to increase rapidly. Flavor comes last.”
Jump for more.
Here is a Viognier cluster just starting to turn gold. He expects this year to be excellent for Viognier. Since this is the flagship white grape for Texas I hope these results are repeated at other top growers (e.g. Brennan Vineyards in Comanche and Reddy Vineyards in Brownfield). It will repeat the message that quality Viognier comes from Texas.
The biggest risk to all grapes at this point is birds that like to eat the grapes most when they are sweet and ripe. For that reason all Perissos’ vines are covered with netting.
Finally, here is Muscat Canelli. Note that the clusters are monsters and Martin says this grape is always the first to ripen.
So far, 2011 looks good at Perissos. More reports from here and elsewhere later in the growing season.