Growing Grapes in Texas

Texas is the fifth largest producer of grape wines in the United States. The grape growing industry in this region can be traced back to the 1800s when German, Italian, and Czech explorers settled and introduced European variety grapes (Vitis vinifera). However, Vitis vinifera, however, is not as disease-resistant as the American varieties and the French-American hybrids. It was only in the 1970s, during the re-emergence of the Texas wine industry, did the European varieties regain the preference of grape growers and vintners. Vitis vinifera apparently produces better wine and is more marketable than the American varieties and hybrids. European grape varieties are most suitable to the South Plains and the Trans-Pecos area, where the warm growing seasons are long and the winters are mild. They are also grown in the Hill Country and North Texas, but growers have to be wary when selecting sites and in providing due care because of the presence of Pierce Disease in these areas. Texan growers prefer Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay. There are also varieties resistant to Pierce disease that can be used to make wine. These are Le Noir, Herbemont, Blanc du Bois, and Cynthiana/Norton.

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