Out in the vineyards ...
First Day of Bingham Grape Harvest in 2020
Today was the first day for us to harvest grapes in 2020. Just a few rows of Gewürztraminer. Crop damage it too bad to salvage any of the fruit, but it has to be harvested for records. I guess there will not be any estate Gewürztraminer for 2020 from Bingham. But we have just released our 2019 Gewürztraminer. As all our varietal wines, this wine will be club exclusive for three months to give our club member the first change to buy and enjoy this wine.
If you are not a club member, there may be some bottles of our 2018 Gewürztraminer available at one of our tasting rooms. Consider joining one of our wine clubs to have the best access to our wines.
We do have a new (to us) harvester to try out today. We traded in our two harvesters that had to be pulled by a tractor for this self-propelled model. Everyone was excited to see it run. It will be gentler on the vines as well as the fruit, so that we can make even better quality wine to share with our friends.
Not much Viognier this year either, but Petit Verdot looks promising. I’ll keep you updated on the harvest.
Visit to Becker Vineyards in 2009
The first year that we grew grapes for Becker Vineyards was in 2006. That was the first year that we sold grapes to any winery. We appreciated the fact that Becker signed a contract with us before we had put an acre in the ground. We all worked hard to produce great grapes that Becker could make into great wine, and they did just that.
We visited Becker Vineyards as a family in 2009. Richard and Bunny Becker were our gracious host and hostess as well as all of the great bunch at Becker.
We had a wonderful tour of the winery with Dr. Robert Becker telling us about their expansions and new projects. As well as how they were taking good care of our grapes, making wonderful wine. They were building one of their tasting room addition at the time.
We had a wonderful concert afterwards with even our youngest, Brianna, playing a little piece for Bunny and Robert. The whole gang played some fiddle music with Robert joining in on his wash tub bass.
Great times to remember on a #ThrowBackThursday.
In the Vineyards and the Farm, June 2, 2020
Many of our vineyards will not be fruitful this year, but the green is showing hope to start working on the vineyards for fruit for next year. Extensive training will be going on the prepare the best cordons for fruitfulness for coming years.
You can see wheat growing in the forefront of a few of these photos.
We are harvesting this organic hard winter wheat right now. We save some for ourselves to make the best whole wheat bread. One of my favorite foods.
Interesting that you can take a grain, grind it up, add some honey, yeast, and salt to make fluffy whole wheat bread.
Our family and employee garden is doing well. Some of our children, employees, and their children have been helping. Time to lower the bags used for wind shields for the baby plants. Sierra, our daughter found a mouse caught in one. That wasn’t the most pleasant experience for any of the workers.
A few rows of corn were added in the foreground. I wonder if they planted any black-eyed-peas. When we plant those in our commercial row crops, we usually just harvest some from those fields for freezing.
Then there is the new-to-us crop that we are planting on our TDA certified organic land, hemp. We have acres plant for CBD and some for textile. We even have some experimental dry land acres planted to see how our soil and water will do with the Hemp.
Here they were planting last week.
That’s the update from the vineyard and the farms from this week. We hope that you all are doing well in these times and working towards planting seeds of hope yourselves.
Vineyard Update for May 19, 2020
After the last vineyard update post, we all need something a little more encouraging, right?. So, I went over to Dandy’s vineyard to take photos of the Petit Verdot which looks wonderful as you will see below. If you remember, we had left some double canes on some of these vines to make sure that their would be enough buds and thus enough fruit. This photo was taken in April.
Looks a little like sloppy pruning, but it was all done with skill and thoughtfullness. We so appreciate our vineyard workers that are local, but are seasonal workers. We hope to be able to give them more seasonal work soon as we get our tasting rooms opened for sales again.
Yes, at our estate winery the money that you spend on wine at our tasting rooms comes all of the way down to pay our vineyards workers for their hard work.
Back to the present state of the same Petit Verdot as of yesterday, mid-may.
As you can see, these vines are now so healthy and fruitful that we need to get the vineyard crews out there to do some leaf pulling.
Not sure about the “shorter finish” part, but she does add that Petit Verdot “has shown promise as a single-varietal wine in warmer climates where it makes smooth full-bodied reds.” And yes, the Texas High Plains AVA is a warm climate. We also are enjoying the way it enhances our red wine blends.
Our 2017 Petit Verdot is currently limited to club members only in their club shipments.
But the 2018 and 2019 Petit Verdot is currently oak aging for future sales.
Our guests personally love our Petit Verdot, beautiful in color. In the first vintage year of our winery, our 2014 Petit Verdot was our first wine to sell out.
Our club members are a valued part of our team, so we allow them three months to purchase our new varietal wine releases before the general public.
Our 2017 Petit Verdot was included in several of our traditional spring club packages as well as available for other clubs to add to their shipments. It will also be included in many of our traditional club packages in the fall. Now would be a good time to consider joining our wine club so that you too can receive our limited production wines such as the 2017 Petit Verdot. Which is also true of our 2017 Mourvedre, 2017 Carignan, and our 2017 Merlot.
Read more about our traditional wine clubs and choose the number of bottles that you would like to receive twice a year in shipments. Our Pioneer club is especially helpful for your personalization choices because you will be able to change out any of the 18 bottles that are preselected for you. Learn more about our traditional wine clubs here.
We pray that we may all pull out of this crisis to celebrate life!
Vineyards Update for May 16, 2020
Now that we are past the winter freezes and spring freezes, we are watching the vines for buds and fruit. Cliff has been walking the vineyards for months now getting a good estimate, but now is the time to look for actual fruitfulness.
It doesn’t look good for the 2020 grape crop at Bingham Family Vineyards. We are estimating 170 tons rather than our original expectation of 900 tons.
Each variety is different, but here is a look at a few. All of the blocks shown today, I had to search the block to find any fruit for these photos. This block of Albariño is an example. At least the vines look health for future years, but will take extra training to prepare for fruit next year.
Let’s take a look at another variety. This block of Merlot looks healthier with leaves, but the fruit is not there.
Here is a block of Mourvedre. These photos are from earlier in the week, but they show that we are concerned not only this year’s crop, but also for the vines themselves. We will be spending extra time training many of the vines to prepare for fruit next year or in some blocks for fruit two years from now.
Tempranillo. Extra canes here waiting to see which ones will be fruitful if any.
By next week, I hope to have a better list of which varieties are faring well and which are not. On the whole it appears that the older the vines, the less fruit. The younger vines, except for some of those just planted last year, are actually fairing better.
Soon I’ll show you a block of Cabernet Sauvignon that we planted last year that almost the whole block is dead. We have been replanting it this spring with new vines.
But this is growing grapes anywhere. Each region has it’s own characteristics that make it hard to grow grape. Make us wonder at times why we do. We just had another grand baby born into our family. She has been a reminder that our focus is not on this year, but rather the years to come.
To reassure our club members, we did have a great 2019 crop year, so we will be able to supply our customers with wine till the 2021 crop year hopefully does well.
We are encouraged by your support during these lean years when we have shut downs from Covid and not having as much grapes to sell to other wineries. Thank you.