Wine grapes overcome severe drought

Wine grapes overcome severe drought

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Cotton is king in Texas, but there is another crop that is not far behind, wine grapes like any other commodity has its successes and challenges. 

"We actually produce 85% of the grapes grown in Texas," said Katy Jane Seaton, executive director of the High Plains Winegrowers Association. "There is 5 million acres of cotton that everyone is familiar with, but there is 5 thousand plus acres of grapes." 

The grapes produced in the south plains are also recognized globally. Seaton and her family have been growing grapes for wine in this region for years. She said like any other crop grapes encounter several challenges on the vine including dry spells at bad times.

"A drought can mean a lot of things hopefully you have been a responsible grower in the winter time and you have done all of your check list which means you have watered appropriate during the winter you have nutrition plan in place, " said Seaton. "Your nutrient profile is up to par and your canopy management has been good. If all of those things are in place the drought shouldn't have a truly negative impact." 

Advances in technology are helping combat the extreme weather conditions that we see here in west Texas. Beyond the hail, damaging winds, and poorly timed heat stress. Seaton said growing the perfect grape for wine takes time, money, patience, and commitment. It also takes 12 to 15 thousand dollars an acre up front then it takes years to develop.

Seaton said grape growing is an upward trend providing a sustainable and effective boost to the region's economy.

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