Prospective Wine and Grape Grower Workshop August 10, 2012

WHEN          August 10, 2012 – 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Registration – 8:30 a.m.-9 a.m.

WHERE        Texas AgriLife Extension Service

3033 Bear Creek Dr., Houston (map)

FEE              $150 – Individuals, $250 – Couples

(includes lunch)

The Prospective Wine Grower Workshop was created by the Texas AgriLife Extension Viticulture team in order to educate those individuals considering planting a commercial vineyard. This one-day educational event consists of a series of presentations that provide an overview of the unique requirements and risks associated with establishment and operation of a commercial vineyard in Texas. The workshop is co-instructed by the Texas AgriLife Extension viticulture advisors.

Workshop topics include:
•  Vineyard Economics
•  Necessary Viticulture Expertise
•  Vineyard Site Considerations
•  Risk Factors
•  Vineyard Labor Requirements

For more information about this workshop, please contact Fritz Westover (  For questions about registration or payment, please contact Extension Conference Services ( or 979-845-2604).

Prospective Wine-Grape Grower Workshop, Thurs. Nov. 18, 9-4

People interested in commercial wine-grape production are invited to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s next Prospective Wine-Grape Grower Workshop, set for Nov. 18 in Fredericksburg.

The workshop, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $125 apiece or $200 for couples, is for those considering planting a commercial vineyard and those who already have planted and are thinking about expanding to commercial scale, said Penny Adams, the service’s viticulture adviser for the Texas Hill Country.

Online registration can be completed at and entering “wine” as the keyword, or by calling (979) 845-2604. On-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 18.

The event will take place at the extension office in Gillespie County, 95 Frederick Road.

Prospective Winegrower Workshops

Grape growing is a labor intensive enterprise that requires significant up-front investment in comparison to many other agricultural crops. The Prospective Winegrower Workshop was created by the Texas AgriLife Extension Viticulture Team to educate farmers, entrepreneurs, or any individual considering planting a commercial vineyard. This one-day educational event consists of a series of presentations that provide an overview of the unique requirements and risks associated with establishment and operation of a commercial vineyard in Texas. The workshop is co-instructed by AgriLife Extension Viticulture Advisors at multiple locations throughout the state.

Workshop topics include:

* Vineyard Economics
* Necessary Viticulture Expertise
* Vineyard Site Considerations
* Risk Factors
* Vineyard Labor Requirements

Fee: $125, Lunch is provided ($200 per couple)
Register online: AgriLife Extension Events
Keyword Search: Wine

The Prospective Winegrower Workshop serves as a prerequisite for application to the Texas Viticulture Certificate Program, offered by Texas Tech University and Texas AgriLife Extension. Go to the Certificate Program website for information on this educational program.


October 12 Lead Instructor: Fran Pontasch
Location: Pittsburg, TX
November 18 Lead Instructor: Penny Adams
Location: Fredericksburg, TX


January 25 Lead Instructor: Fran Pontasch
Location: Stephenville, TX
March 16 Lead Instructor: Fritz Westover
Location: Houston, TX
May 2 Lead Instructor: Penny Adams
Location: Fredericksburg, TX
June 17 Lead Instructor: Dusty Timmons
Location: Lubbock, TX

Prospective TX Viticulturists: Grape Camp Fredericksburg, Tx Nov. 7 & 8, 2010

TWGGA & Agrilife Extension of Texas A&M Host a Grape Camp Nov. 7 & 8, 2010 in Fredericksburg, TX.

The annual Grape Camp is educational programming designed and delivered by theTexas AgriLife Extension Service for commercial vineyard owners and for anyone interested in learning about grape growing in Texas.

Grape Camp Fredericksburg, Tx

Register Here

Vintners need fruit more than pamphlets

Great article if you are interested to know how Texas Department of Ag. spends money on the wine industry and marketing. The money which has previously gone to promoting Texas wine may be reallocated and go more toward promoting Texas Beef if the Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Hank Gilbert is elected. Incumbent Todd Staples has believed in selling Texas wine over other agricultural products and has put the money into the Go Texan marketing program.

Nearly $50 million a year allocated by the Legislature to tout Texas agriculture is going to be up for reallocation depending on the outcome of the election.

Let me be clear about my opinion on this topic. While I believe the marketing efforts of the Go Texan program have been beneficial in bringing up the reputation and recognition of Texas wines and the pamphlets, passports and labels have provided excellent tangible resources to tourism to the wineries the funding allocated for grape growing has been minuscule and overlooked.  Only a handful of vineyards have benefited from the $25,000 grants for grape growing. Texas is down from 3,600 acres to 2,500 planted acres. Not all of that 2,500 acres is producing because some is still immature.  Texas grape growers don’t even have access resources through the TDAg to send soil samples or tissue samples for anaylsis of diseases or profiles. Cattle ranchers have always had low cost and not cost resources to send cow manure for identification of pathogens for their herds and soil and range management contacts to turn to for help.

The Texas Dept. of Ag. can’t tell you whether the grape vines in a particular vineyard have been suffering from cotton root rot or pierces disease… they just guess and provided anecdotal information; nothing scientific for the viticulturists of Texas to have as a resource. That leave the grape grower to turn to private consultants and call on California sources for work in Texas which can be very expensive.


How Appraisers Value Vineyards

1) Replacement Costs 2) Comparable Sales 3) Income Capitalization
Averaged = Value

Plus the value of various other factors: location, wine prices, opportunity costs, cost of capital, water, soil, topography, maturity, seduction factor of the wine country lifestyle.

I believe the best bang for the buck in terms of vineyard development opportunity in Central Texas is the undervalued Mason area. The sandstone soils with good mineral composition and Hickory Aquifer with abundant water make for the 2 most valued qualities of the region for not only grape growing but other produce and cash crops. Tracts of all sizes are available in the Mason area. Next, the location is perfect for day trippers, but the community still roots a large portion of the economy in ag. centric activities so you will be able to get a tractor part or find someone to help with a sprinkler. Other growers and winemakers anchor this community in the burgeoning Texas Wine industry and you have to love the new WineBar just off the square.

Interested in starting a vineyard? Ask me about suitable vineyard sites for your venture or buy this one that is turnkey: Peter’s Prairie Vineyard

Great Article:

Starting a Vineyard – Continued 2

New Texas Ag Extension Resource website:

Reprinted courtesy of UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Sample Cost Study to Establish 40 Acres of Conventional Wine Grapes in San Joaquin Valley
Sample Costs to Establish Vineyard- 40 Acres Conventional

Sample Cost Study to Establish 30 Acres of Organic Chardonnay Wine Grapes in Sonoma County
Sample Costs to Establish Organic Chardonnay Wine Grapes -30 Acres Sonoma County

Money for renewable energy systems available in July

(Infrastructure & Transportation : Texas) 7/7/2009
Federal money is available through the end of the month for farmers, ranchers and rural business owners to purchase and install small wind turbines or other renewable energy systems.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program grants cover 25 percent of the total installed cost of a system and, when combined with the Federal Investment Tax Credit, roughly can cover 50 percent of the cost.

The program is designed to assist producers who gain at least 50 percent of their gross income from agricultural operations and rural small business owners with less than 15 employees.

Applications must be submitted to the local USDA Rural Development Office by July 31.

“How Do You Make A Small Fortune in the Wine Business? Start with a large one.” -unknown

Fortunately, in Texas it takes less investment in real estate to get there but it is no less of an investment in time, plants, equipment and labor. Wine & Vineyards are businesses built on passion, long term vision and determination against all odds, including mother nature.

It is possible to make money in the wine business. But how did they get from A to B? Let’s see. Texas has all the right mixes of tourism, state pride, fervor for locally made products and a wide demographic of wine drinkers.

Actually, the market for Texas wine exists with little product to fulfill the under served demand. We have plenty of folks to consume the product and can expand in depth to fulfill the likes of sophisticated wine drinkers to casual consumers.Texas doesn’t even have to sell wine beyond the state lines to be more successful.

Lots of negative talk about staring a vineyard from mainstream educational institutions? If you have ever attended an introductory seminar are staring a vineyard or getting into the wine business, most likely you were persuaded how hard and risky it can be. But were you shown how to take the next step?

The first step isn’t being an expert. The first step is meeting the real world on the ground hands on the vine experts and learning from their mistakes. Reach out an meet a Texas viticulturist. They will probably invite you to come share in the work to learn the ropes.

The next step would be to identify local and soil types of available property for sale.

While few vineyards have achieved full sustainability it is possible to incorporated sustainable operations into vineyard and winery management with sustainability as a long term goal to strive for and keep the bottom line increasing. (Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and prosperous farming communities. These goals have been defined by a variety of disciplines and may be looked at from the vantage point of the farmer or the consumer.)

The main areas of vineyard sustainably management are:
• Viticulture
• Soil Management
• Vineyard Water Management
• Pest Management
• Wine Quality
• Food Safety and Security
• Ecosystems Management
• Energy Efficiency
• Winery Water Conservation & Water Quality
• Materials Handling
• Solid Waste Reduction & Management
• Environmentally Preferred Purchasing
• Human Resources
• Neighbors and Communities

Crop land values to stay steady and increase in demand in Texas
The latest Tierra Grande assessed land values of productive farming land and looked at prices adjusted for inflation. They found productive land to increase in value over the last 8 years with a continuing increase in demand while other real estate such as residential and commercial held flat.

Land prices range from approx. $4,000+/acre in Mason County, McCullough, San Saba, to $10,000+/acre in Gillespie and Blaco, to $20,000+/acre in parts of Hays County, Kendall and Llano.

Starting a Vineyard- continued

Age of vine before producing useful grapes—3 years (3rd leaf)

Age of vine before full production—5 years (5th leaf)

Productive lifetime of a vine—25-35 years—Although the quality can remain good, the yield begins to decrease after that…though some varieties like Zinfandel can be up to 75 years – 1 century old

Grape clusters in bottle—4-5

Grapes in a bottle—500-600

Clusters on a vine—40

Grapes in a cluster—4–100

Grape clusters in one glass of wine—1

Vines per acre—500-1300

(see sample study on yields Keyword: yield)

Pounds of grapes produced by one vine—4-12

Harvest Tons per acre—2-14 (average—can vary greatly across varietals depending on cultivar, vine spacing and canopy management practices) Texas average is: 2-3 tons/acre

(2,000 lbs = 1 ton)

Gallons of wine per ton of grapes—120

Gallons of wine per acre—less than 500

Barrels per acre— around 13

Bottles per vine—4-6

Bottles per ton—500—700

Bottles per acre—4,000

Cases per barrel—24.6

Glasses per acre—16,000

Glasses in a bottle—5-6

Bottles per 60 gallon barrel—300

Texas Price per ton and statistics

Texas planted acres as of Jan. 2009:  2,500 acres, (450 not mature) (down from 2,900)

Texas average price paid per ton: $1200( ranging $730-$2100)

Cost per acre of new vineyard $20,000 – $30,000 acre

Cost per acre of raw land in Texas AVAs $3,000-30,000 per acre

Grape Vines per acre 500-1,300 (10×6 or 10×8 or 8×5 spacing?)

Cost per new vine plant $2-10 each

Soil amendments per acre – $1,000-$2,000 (initial set up, + 1-5 years of maintenance in beginning)

Soil ripping and site preparation: ?

Steel T-posts $8-30 each and Drill pipe for end posts ($ ?)

Drip Irrigation system $1,200 per acre

Frost Protection system – $1,000 per acre

Wind machines ?

Deer/Exotic Game Perimeter fence ?

Labor – $9-12/hour + transportation

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