Growing Grapes with Missy from Burning Daylight Vineyards
(Missy Gudal and her husband David own Burning Daylight Vineyards.)
Truth be told, I got into grape growing because my husband told me I could go back to school if we started a vineyard. Before you offer me swamp land in Florida let me assure you that I knew what we were getting into. David had attended a Prospective Winegrape Growers Workshop and we both attended the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Annual Conference before we got started. David grew up on a farm and has always had a garden in which he grows far more than we can eat, pickle, can, or freeze. My history with living plants was not as stellar as his and we often joked that houseplants came to our house to die. However, I happily enrolled in the Viticulture Certificate program at Grayson College in the fall of 2013 and tooled off to Denison for four weekends every semester. At that point our vines had been planted and were up and growing like crazy and somewhere in all the wild mess I became fascinated with grapevines. In fact, I get antsy if I don’t see them every day.
We first met Gene, Jim and Roxanne at the TWGGA Conference in 2012. Everyone we met who found out we lived near Burleson said “you need to talk to Gene Estes” so we set up a time to tour Lost Oak Winery and find out if they would be interested in buying fruit and what varieties they were looking for. Then we went away and planted our vineyard. In 2014 our vines were ahead of schedule and with the help of friends, neighbors, and the wonderful volunteers and crew at Lost Oak Winery we harvested just over 11 tons of grapes. It has truly been a pleasure to work with the great folks at Lost Oak Winery and we love what they do with our grapes!
Our two largest varieties are Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. We also have Malvasia Bianca, Vermentino, Malbec and Syrah. Over the years we’ve added some varieties and removed others and our production has increased to 16 tons. We planted 725 more Cabernet Franc vines this spring and since the Syrah has impressed us again this season with its abundant large clusters and open light-filled canopy we would love to plant it in our last expansion zone next spring.
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