Harvest time

Emerick Retzloff peeks into a container of Blanc du Bois grapes at the first harvest of the season at the Christopher Family Vineyards in Goliad on June 27. 

GOLIAD – Christopher Family Vineyards held its first grape harvest event of the season on June 27.

The event drew a rather large crowd of folks, who helped harvest the vineyard’s crop of Blanc du Bois grapes.

Bill Christopher, who owns and operates the vineyard, said he wasn’t sure of the total number of attendees.

He said the plan was to hold two harvesting events on June 26 and 27, but the harvest scheduled for the 26th was rained out.

“We were supposed to have 25 on Friday and 30 on Saturday,” Christopher said. “... We were doing everything we could to get the grapes done in the one day. That’s not easy.”

Christopher said the vineyard sold whole grape clusters to the Texas SouthWind Winery, which is also located in Goliad County, and also crushed grapes on site and sold juice to the Rusty Hook Winery in Long Mott (near Port Lavaca) and the Gulf Breeze Winery in Victoria.

Blanc du Bois is a popular grape variety that is often used in the making of white wine. According to wine-searcher.com, it was first bred in 1968 and the variety is now found throughout the southeastern United States, particularly Texas, where there are more acres of the variety grown than in any other state.

The vineyard hosted another harvest event on July 4 for an experimental variety of grapes known as Blanc du Soleil.

The final harvest event of the year was held Saturday. It was to harvest the vineyard’s crop of Herbemont grapes, a variety used for red wine.

The grapes from each of the last two harvests were crushed, and the juice was sold to the Blue Lotus Winery in Seguin.

Christopher said that, in about two years, the vineyard will have two other varieties that will be ready for harvest.

He said the vineyard is in the beginning stages of planting those varieties on the ranch.

The vineyard, which is located on Old Goliad Road on the northwest side of the city, has been in operation since 2007, when the first grapes were planted. The vineyard’s first harvest was in 2009.

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