What You Don’t Want to See in a Budding Vineyard!

snow May 10

You would never know the vineyard was ready to burst forth with spring!

I have been in the tropics and then to Alaska – all in one week!

Yes, it is tiring being a world traveler, but somebody’s gotta do it – right?

OK, I really didn’t go to the tropics – or Alaska.

But, I felt like I had been!

We had both extremes right here in west Texas at our vineyard!

The first few days of the week were gorgeous. Temperatures were in the high 80’s! We were all in shorts and tank tops. The vineyard was budding out more each day.

Last week I shared that we were almost finished pruning and that the young Montepulciano vines were budding. We finally finished pruning all the vines on Monday! What a feeling of relief to know that it was done!

Normally, the Montepulciano vines are our last variety to break bud and as of last week, it was just the younger vines that were budding. But, over the weekend and the first couple of days of this week, the more mature vines began budding – not only in the Montepulciano but also in the Aglianico and Roussanne. You could almost see the buds swelling. The next day, voila, they had broken open and the plant was out!

buds Montepulciano

But …

Wednesday morning was a different story!

John and I got up – out of bed that is – to milk. We milk morning and evening on Wednesday and Sunday, to do our share   ;)

I walked out the door and exclaimed, “It’s snowing!”

And low and behold, it was.

It took a minute for the reality and seriousness of the snow to hit me – I was enthralled with the beauty of it. But, it also meant that all the buds in the vineyard that were already out were dead.

Yep. No fruit from the primary buds. None.

The temperature had gotten down to 24F – GULP!

As we realized how low the temperature had dropped, the threat of trunk damage became a reality. Because the sap has been flowing so freely, the concern is that the trunks froze, killing the wood, and as they dry out, the trunks actually split. If that happened and the grafts were alive, it would mean 3 years of retraining the entire vineyard. If the grafts also froze, it would mean replanting the whole vineyard!

Needless to say, I had trouble eating breakfast Wednesday morning!

Who knew that farming life could be so suspenseful?

Well, the temperature warmed up enough to work by afternoon and the vineyard looked better than expected.

Yes, all the buds that were out were toast. But, many were still tight and not budded out – there will be fruit – Lord willing!

Trunk damage seems unlikely now. Three days have passed and no signs of trunk damage – Praise the Lord!

Whew! The farming lifestyle sure makes you realize your total dependence upon God!



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  1. Scary… I remember many nights when I was a kid when my dad & other citrus farmers would be out in the fields all night long spraying the fruit trees to keep the ice off of them.. Only happened once or twice that I remember but it happens..

  2. I’m so glad that the damage was not worse for you! And hopefully we have seen the last of the freezes for this year.


  1. […] I think this has been one of the most challenging months since beginning the vineyard! We have had temperatures in the high 80F’s most days but then dropping below freezing for the last 3 weeks and each week has been on a Wednesday! There was even snow – which you do NOT want to see in a budding vineyard! […]

  2. […] process it all (6-9 tons each). This year, however, because of the spring crop loss (thanks to the late freeze), each of their individual plots only will yield no more than a ton. This was too little for a […]

  3. […] will be harvested separately but since the crop load is so much smaller than normal (thanks to the late freeze) it is just not cost efficient for the winery to send an 18 wheeler twice. Plus, they are both […]

  4. […] was required this year since we had varying degrees of ripeness in the fruit thanks to the late freeze. It killed many of the primary buds and resulted in secondary bud […]

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