Central Texas, September 11, 2014 – With the Texas wine grape harvest winding down across the state, grape growers and winemakers are optimistic about the quality of fruit from both Texas Hill Country and Texas High Plains vineyards, despite lower-than-expected yields from the late freeze this past spring.
Texas Fine Wine, a group of four distinctive Texas wineries dedicated to producing high quality wines sourced from Texas appellation vineyards, offers perspective on the 2014 harvest.

Bending Branch Winery, John Rivenburgh
“2014 has been a breath of fresh air for Bending Branch Estate Vineyard. Due to the mild summer and wet spring, we have been able to hang fruit almost a full four weeks longer than past vintages, providing us with great color and complex flavors not yet seen in the estate vineyard.”

“One new addition to the harvest this year is our first Estate Souzao. This fruit will definitely find a seat at the table in the conversation of what to plant in the Texas Hill Country with a bud break four weeks behind Tannat and three behind Mourvedre. Souzao also has a color like no other fruit I’ve seen in the Hill Country.”

“Overall the Hill Country harvest has been very good to Bending Branch this year. We are looking forward to the rest of the harvest, and all the other great fruit from around the state.”

Brennan Vineyards, Pat Brennan
“Unfortunately, the late spring freeze means we will bring in only 20 percent of what we expected. On the bright side, the quality of the fruit is excellent.”

Duchman Family Winery, Jeff Ogle
“We are still dealing with lingering damage caused by the 2013 freezes, and the mid-April freeze this year that substantially reduced our yield on Viognier. Overall tonnage looks better than 2011 and certainly better than 2013, but only at about 60 to 70 percent of the record levels of 2012.”

“That said, we are seeing a low-yield, but high-quality harvest. The quality of our Vermentino is excellent. Dolcetto, Viognier, and Trebbiano are also above average.”

“We are having a protracted growing season, with Montepulciano and Aglianico looking to be a few weeks behind average harvest date. Quality looks to be ‘an 11 on a scale of 1-10’ according to John Oswald for those two varieties. We are excited about the quality, but the longer the grapes hang, the more risk we carry for hail, wind, and rain damage.”

“We brought in a small quantity of Hill Country fruit this year- cannot say enough good things about the quality of Salt Lick Vineyards Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. The fruit looked like it was destined for a photo shoot rather than a winery. Perfect ripeness, beautiful clusters. A knockout 2014 GSM is definitely in the cards.”

Pedernales Cellars, David Kuhlken
“We have finished harvesting at our estate vineyard. The good news for us has been the high quality fruit coming from Kuhlken Vineyards. The downside was the hail we received back in early May which severely reduced our yields. These low yields partially account for the quality, but also mean smaller 2014 estate wine lots in Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Grenache, Touriga, and the front Bordeaux varietals. Given these limited quantities in 2014, estate fruit will primarily be limited to wine club wines and select reserve wines.”

“Additionally we have finished all of our Hill Country harvests, and outside of the hail damage at our estate, the local harvests have been at typical yields with excellent quality from Robert Clay, Stout, Parr, and Si Como No Vineyards.”

“We have now shifted to harvesting our High Plains blocks with Reddy, Bingham, Lost Draw, and Newsom vineyards. So far this has included an excellent Viognier harvest from Bingham Vineyards that helps ensure that we will be back to producing 2014 vintage Viognier. We have additionally seen excellent harvests of Albarino from Newsom Vineyard and Vermentino from Lost Draw Vineyards.”

“Despite the late freeze, these blocks and several others in the High Plains have carried through to produce excellent harvests at light yields with promising quality. Red harvests in the High Plains have just begun with our Tempranillo from Reddy and Bingham vineyards harvesting this week. Once again, we are lucky that despite the freeze in the spring, we will have a healthy and high quality Tempranillo vintage for 2014.”

For more information about Texas Fine Wine, go to www.TexasFineWine.com.