Live from Texas High Plains: Where the Grapes are Grown
Interviewing Wine grape-growers and Wineries in West Texas
I have arrived with my photographer outside Lubbock, Texas getting ready to interview four well-known vintners and grape-growers. Lubbock, in northwestern Texas, you say? Yes, this is the Texas High Plains AVA (American Viticultural Area) where 85% of the Texas wine grapes are grown. Most normal wine lovers would question this as the best wine-growing area of Texas. They see all the beautiful wineries in the Fredericksburg- Austin corridor of Highway 280, or in North Texas near Dallas. However, Texans know that there are over 394 wineries in Texas now, and Texas is ranked #5 in wine production. This number of wineries has an economic impact of $13.1 billion in Texas according to the National Association of American Wineries.
I am looking forward to the interviews with McPherson Cellars, Newsom Vineyards, Reddy Vineyards and Winery, and Henry and Marie Froese at Y Knot Vineyard. Many vintners in Texas started growing grapes these last four decades, and had a past family history of growing cotton and other crops. Initially, they sold their grapes to other wineries in Texas, especially in the Texas Hill Country near Fredericksburg and Austin, Texas. Currently, however, many growers also make their own wines, and have opened wineries across the state.
Lubbock, Texas has some culinary and entertainment attractions to explore, too. Join us for our Texas High Plains Adventure.
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Why Texas High Plains?
The Texas High Plains AVA is located on the Llano Estacado region of Texas. The appellation is the second largest AVA in Texas and covers an area of over 270,000 acres, with less than 4,000 planted to grapes. This huge plateau with elevation ranges from 2,800 to 4,000 feet above sea level, provide this continental climate long, hot, dry summers and cool evenings. The elevation creates a significant diurnal shift (day to nighttime temperatures) that aids wine grapes in retaining acidity and slows ripening adding more “hang-time*” to the grapes.
*Hang Time in grapes is defined as the length of time wine grapes need to develop optimum flavor in order to produce the best wine possible. As grapes hang longer to mature (physiological ripening), sugars accumulate, pH increases, acidity decreases, vegetative flavors can decrease, tannins ripen, and berry flavors can increase. When to pick grapes is a judgement decision weighing over-ripening with its higher sugar content and lower acid content with under-ripening and it potential for harsher tannins. Lots of decisions and lots of risks! Football punters would appreciate the significance of the term “Hang Time.”
Where to Stay
Rock’n N Red & Breakfast, Plains, Texas at Newsom Vineyards
Where to Eat
Things to Do
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