Freezing temps could mean disaster for area vineyards

Source: KCBD Video
Source: KCBD Video
Updated: Apr. 4, 2018 at 5:51 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Freezing temperatures are headed our way this weekend and that could be a nightmare for vineyard owners, since the grapes have just started blooming for this year's harvest.

"The grape buds are very tender and will not be able to handle a hard freeze at all," Anthony Furgeson at High Plains Winegrowers said.

The hard freeze in this weekend's forecast could be a disaster for Furgeson, who says he hasn't seen a freeze this late in the year since 2014.

"It was horrible, we didn't have a crop that year," he said. "Typically we pick grapes by the ton, and that year we were picking grapes by the five-gallon bucket. "

Farmers all over the South Plains are getting prepared for the cold weather ahead.

"Some of the farmers have wind machines, some have heaters, some bring in helicopters to move air around, some burn hay bales," Furgeson said. "Anything to create heat and wind for the grapes."

Making sure the blooming grapes pull through the freezing cold temperatures is top priority because this part of the season is the most critical for local vineyards.

"When the grape buds out, the cluster, everything that is going to be set up for the year is coming out all at one time," Furgeson said. "Once you lose that primary bud, its on to the secondary, and you're going to suffer a severe loss."

Furgeson says if the grapes make it through the cold snap, High Plains Winegrowers will be able to harvest the grapes in August.

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