Yes, I said hail, not freeze. We seem to be so preoccupied with late spring freezes that we forget about the other hazards of growing grapes on the High Plains. Hail being one of them. During the last rain which we had on Sunday morning on the 25th, we had hail some hail. Cliff went out and checked all the vineyards first thing in the morning before church, but there didn’t seem to be too much damage from the hail. We were very thankful for the rains. Most of the damage was in two of the vineyards.
Seeing grapevine leaves in the dirt isn’t an encouraging sight. One of the vineyards with damage is only a year old having had damage from last year’s late spring freeze. It will survive, but our cotton field next to it has about a 50% crop loss.
A little later in the season the leaves on the grape vines will give quite a bit of coverage for the grapes. The other field that had some damage was one of our Cabernet Sauvignon experiment blocks. In this small one acre block we planted quite a few different root stocks with Cabernet Sauvignon vines to study which root stock would be best for our area and soil.
Later in the afternoon most of us went out to look at this vineyard again. It was really a rather enjoyable time for the children looking over the vineyard with Dad.
This is the type of damage that we found, broken stems ever so often.
Sometimes leaf damage, but most of the buds are still there.
Then we found a horny toad! Or what some call a Texas horned lizard. Even if they are an endangered specie, we have seen quite a few of them recently in our fields.
Here is another one that we found last week.
We put him back out into the wild, but first he wanted a photo shoot. So we obliged.
The area where we received some of the hail is also where one of our new vineyard plantings is. Most of the vines are just now pushing out of the ground where we buried them to keep warm.
This funny little vine is a bit precocious. Can you believe he is so eager to help supply the high demand for Texas wine grapes?
We told him that he needed to grow big and strong and not produce fruit for a couple of years at least, so we helped prune the buds away. He seemed to accept the inevitable quite well. He will grow big and strong and bless us with some wonderful Texas wine.