High Plains Tour of Hope


April 21, 2014
Merrill Bonarrigo

Thankfully a grapevine’s buds do not all come out at the same time because the ones that had not pushed before the mid-April freeze are coming out now and appear quite fruitful. This was one year where it was better to be further north than further south. The further south you were in the High Plains the greater number of primary buds had come out by the time of that freeze.

Unlike most freezes the further north (Plainview) the colder the low temperature and in this freeze the Plainview temperature and the Ft. Stockton temperature were virtually the same at 25 degrees Fahrenheit. There were some unbelievably heroic efforts made this year to save the primary buds. Many growers burned piles of hay in spite of burn bands and some flew helicopters at a rate of $800 per hour. Helicopters came from all over the Southwest. 22 helicopters were over the vineyards of the High Plains. “That’s dedication”

One grower reported that the combination of freeze and the rare blood moon eclipse created a funny moment at a time of desperation. In one vineyard near the prison system, the hay bales were a blaze under the light of the blood moon and the rhythmic compressing sounds of the chopper overhead created a mystical eerie battlefield setting. The grower and his family were startled by the prison guards who arrived to investigate what they believed to be a “cult ceremony” under the blood moon.

The Blood Moon has always signified a historic event. Let’s hope this year the Blood Moon will signify a bountiful harvest of grapes for the great state of Texas. God bless Texas.