Rising temperatures lead to changes in ETX winery harvest - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Rising temperatures lead to changes in ETX winery harvest

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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

They thought it was going to be a mild year, but now, the drastic rise in temperature is forcing an early harvest for an East Texas winery.

However, Kiepersol Enterprises says even with this sudden change of plans, they are still anticipating a very good harvest.

"This year we've been fortunate to have good weather. The last couple of days we have had some nice heat trends that has made the fruit start to ripen at a really nice rate," said Michael McClendon, an Enologist and Wine Maker at Kiepersol Enterprises. "We're ready to harvest pretty much right away."

So harvest they will.

Kiepersol says they are picking grapes almost two weeks ahead of what they predicted.

Even though they had to harvest early, they say the mild temperatures early this summer were still good for the vines.

"Early on this year we were able to work on the health of the vine," said McClendon. "Early in the season you want a push to make the vine vigorous and healthy because at the end of the season, like now when it's so warm, it's not going to be taking the nutrients from the environment. It's going to be taking nutrients from the plant itself. So if the plant was healthy to begin with, it's going to make the fruit healthy in the long run."

Kiepersol says the heat is making better flavors because moisture will dilute the sugar content.

"The sugar content is much higher because of the warm temperatures we've been having. It's been concentrating those sugar levels down and of course the flavors are much richer and fuller and will translate over to our wine," said McClendon.

Based on the characteristics of these grapes, Kiepersol says it will be a great harvest.

They want the grapes to be dark in color, and because of the recent dry temperatures there is no fungus or mold growing.

Kiepersol also says the grapes are not cracking when pulled off the vine.

All these signs point to a flavorful harvest.

Kiepersol says they expect their first bottles of white wines from this year's harvest to be ready by December of this year.

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