“We’ve not had to irrigate all year, so that’s a huge cost savings and it’s caused the grapevines themselves to be very, very big. Big leaf canopy, very full clusters, so probably our total production will be up about 40%.”
How many grapes will one plant produce?
“This year our crop loads look anywhere between 30 and 50 pounds per plant.”
Winemaker and grape farmer Paul Bonarrigo says Messina Hof’s grapes are ready.
“We’ve pre-tested all of the grapes to know they’re at full ripeness. Basically, we just take the stem of the grape and pull the fruit off or take a knife and cut the stem.”
The grapes are put in a stemmer-crusher to be processed into juice.
“Once that happens, the winemaking process begins, because on the skin of every wine grape is yeast.”
The black spanish grape does well in our area.
“The sugars are perfect. The color on the grapes is fabulous. I think one of the things that is just amazing about this particular grape is the quality of the juice. You can see this beautiful red color coming out of the grape.”
85% of grapes worldwide are machine picked, but not those in Messina Hof’s Brazos Valley vineyard.
“This year we’ll have about 3000 people from all over the world come to Messina Hoff and help us pick our crop. We use it as a way of educating the public about the wine industry.”
Harvest at Messina Hof continues through August 19th.