Winery stresses efficiency during hot, dry season

Winery stresses efficiency during hot, dry season

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BROWNFIELD, Texas -

The hot and dry temperatures are not only affecting the cotton industry, but also the wine industry on the High Plains.

Winemakers are focusing on technology and balance to be be resourceful while producing their wine.    

"The perfect balance is the right amount of rain at the right times," Owner and operator of Farmhouse Vineyards, Anthony Furgeson, said.

"The drought effects every body. And then that in turn trickles down to the economy. The drought will effect every body in some shape or form," he added.

Because of the drought, they have to make tough decisions.

"Since water is such a precious resource, so how do we use it, how do we be efficient, how do we be good stewards of the land with this precious resource," he said.

According to Furgeson, the focus is on efficiency. The vineyard uses a drip irrigation system to concentrate water right on the root. It causes less evaporation and water run-off.

Executive director of the High Plains Winegrowers Association, Katy Jane Seaton, said the drought and heat is a good thing for grapes, just not throughout the entire growing season.

"Usually we look for it toward the end when the fruit clusters are done and set and in late maturity. We don't want it all year long and certainly we don't not pray for rain," Seaton said.

"On a wetter year, the berries are going to be sort of bigger, they're going to be fuller of juice and on a dry year obviously the opposite is going to be there," Furgeson said. "We've got probably the same amount of clusters hanging as last year but I think cluster size and cluster weights are going to be what's going to be the difference"

When veraison starts, meaning, when the grapes change color and start to develop sugar, the vineyard will think about harvest.

But, because of the hot and dry season, they will likely move it up a week or two.

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