Education is important in the wine industry and especially important in a wine industry that is still climbing that mountain such as the Texas wine industry. There are a few education resources throughout Texas during the year, but 2019 brought the first conference to East Texas. Sages Vintage offered the Sages Vintage Symposium on May 18th at their custom crush location in Nacogdoches.
37 people from all over Texas, including some people from out of state, attended the Symposium to learn about vineyard, winery, and tasting rooms. The group assembled in the newly built building at Sages Vintage which is still under construction. The day was nice, so the non-air-conditioned building was not a problem.
First up to speak was Fritz Westover from Westover Vineyard Advising to speak about Vineyard Fertilization including materials, rates, timing, and methods. There were a number of people in attendance who already had vineyards or who were thinking about starting a vineyard. Fritz explained soil analysis is good to tell what mineral nutrients are available in the soil for vines to access, but is only necessary every three years because the soil doesn’t change much like some of the other variants in the vineyard. He recommended doing a petiole or leaf analysis during the year, even before bloom, to tell what the vine has taken up for nutrient management. The key to remember is that everything you do this year to the vines affects next year’s vineyard.
Another benefit Westover Vineyard Advising offers is the Virtual Viticulture Academy. This is a nice advantage to clients because it allows Fritz to work with his clients long distance offering advice and also includes Live Vineyard Advising.
The next speaker was Luke Holcombe from Scott Laboratories. Luke spoke about different wine packaging available for the winery. The talk included multiple facets of wine packaging including corks, capsules, screwcaps, glass quality control, cans, kegs, bubbles, and more. One interesting thing with smaller wineries who do hand corking is pushing the cork into the bottle also lets oxygen in, so the key is to add more gas or liquid nitrogen prior to corking to counter the effect of too much oxygen.
The final presentation was from an experienced tasting room owner, Stacy Rollins, of Vine 2 Wine Winery. The seminar was exactly what some people needed in a Q&A so people could ask questions from Stacy’s experience. Vine 2 Wine is located in Winnie off I-10 by Beaumont. Rollins explained that it isn’t like a winery in Fredericksburg where tour companies bring buses to your winery, so she has to work at bringing people into the winery instead. To do this, she has multiple events throughout the year for her customers.
The Symposium was valuable for people, especially in the area, and Sages Vintage has already said they are planning on having another Symposium next year.