Heat Forces Early Harvest at Vineyards

3 Vines Vineyard picks grapes before they turn to raisins

By Sara Story
|  Friday, Aug 5, 2011  |  Updated 4:47 PM CDT
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The extreme temperatures have scorched North Texas vineyards, forcing wine makers to harvest their grapes early

Sara Story

The extreme temperatures have scorched North Texas vineyards, forcing wine makers to harvest their grapes early

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The extreme temperatures have scorched North Texas vineyards, forcing wine makers to harvest their grapes early.

A grape harvest happens once a year at 3 Vines Vineyard, and this year's harvest came much sooner than expected. 3 Vines Vineyard in Ponder picked grapes Friday before they all turned to raisins.

"Generally, they ripen up about the same time. Normally, the end of August or even the first of September," 3 Vines Vineyard owner Greg Hawkins said.

Greg and his wife Mary own the vineyard and said the grapes will tolerate up to 100 degrees. After that, the vines shut down and take nutrients away from the grapes. Right now, there is a healthy supply of grapes, but it won't last long.

"We need to get them off the vines," Greg said.

Part of the vineyard was harvested last week, and the Hawkins said the vines produced half their normal amount. The grapes are also smaller than usual. 

"There's lower production and they are just under more stress," Mary said.

They grapes may be smaller, but the Hawkins have worked hard to keep this year's crop hanging on.They monitor the grapes daily, waiting for the sugar level to be just right.

"When it's a 110 degrees, we aren't getting any more sugar out of them."

3 Vines Vineyard will harvest grapes Saturday morning starting at 7am. The vineyard is open to the public, and you pay pay for each pound you pick. 

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