A Visit to the High Plains Vineyards
The panhandle of Texas is home to one of the largest American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in Texas. Designated the Texas High Plains, it is second only to the Texas Hill Country.
Recently, I was invited to tour some of the vineyards in the High Plains.
Now, I am a Texas girl and I have traveled to many corners of the state, but the panhandle is one spot I had never been to. The first thing that struck me was the never-ending sky. Montana is known as “big sky country” but I have been to Montana, and although it is incredibly beautiful, the sky is nothing compared to what the High Plains had to offer.
I thought that the endless flatness would get boring, but instead, I found the expansiveness to be fascinating. I saw wildlife that included prairie dogs, burring owls, red shouldered hawks, horned lizards, and more butterflies than you can count.
I was event there during a haboob. I watched the horizon for almost an hour as the dust storm grew in insanity before engulfing the restaurant we were dining at.
Other nights the horizon was awash in electrically charged thunderheads that just never quite made it to where I was. I can see why people would choose to live in what many would consider to be vast nothingness.
Beautiful vistas and wildlife aside, I was there to look at some vineyards.
But what exactly were we looking for? How healthy are the vines, is there hail damage, how full is the canopy, do the clusters look like they are developing evenly, how much fruit is there, what is the expected yield?
With the help of the growers, all our questions are answered and then we determine how much of each varietal we want from our different growers.
Our first stop was the Bingham Family Vineyard in Meadow then off to Krick Hill Vineyards in Levelland. The next day we went to Oswald Vineyards in Brownfield and Diamante Doble Vineyard in Tokio.
Everywhere we went we were treated to the best Texas hospitality from hard working vineyard owners.
I was overwhelmed by the amount I learned and how passionate the growers were about their vines.
Although, they were growing different types of grapes and each grower did things a little different from the others, one thing they definitely had in common was the spark in their eyes and the smile on their face when they got to talk to us about their pride and joy, their grapes.
We can’t wait to make outstanding wine from their incredible fruit.
- Written by Angela Chapman, WSET III
Edited by fellow wino Mariam Copeland