There are several unique factors that play into the vineyard and its ability to produce first class grapes. The vineyard is located on a hillside just 100 ft. above the cypress-lined Frio River at an altitude of 1600 ft. Frio is Spanish for “cold.” The Frio River is a chilly 64 degrees year round and is naturally fed by underground springs, which make the water crystal clear. Studies show the water in the Frio Canyon is of the highest quality with phenomenal aquatic life and an excellent water source for the surrounding habitat.
The river is the true heart of the canyon. Tourists are drawn by the thousands to its cool clear waters every summer to play and escape the brutal Texas summer heat. The river not only supplies life to our canyon communities but also plays an important role in the life of our vineyard.
The vineyard’s planting allows the natural airflow that drawls through the canyons to ventilate and circulate around the vines. In the summers, the river keeps the air temperature a few degrees cooler and helps cool the vines as airflow and winds increase at night. Early mornings often bring breezy, cool conditions that help dry the morning dew from the grapes. Winds produced by the hillsides are extremely important as they dry the grapes and prevent mold or mildew issues. The cooler temperatures and breezes provide the vineyard with some much needed relief from the relentless, midday summer sun.
During early spring as the vines come out of their winter hibernation and begin to grow, they are anxiously checked for late frost or freeze after bud brake. During this time of year the outside air temperature is far lower than the water’s temperature in the river. Again, the flowing water helps increase the surrounding air temperature by a few degrees while the Canyon helps circulate warmer air through the vineyard rows. This natural airflow also helps keep our grapes dry and free from moisture that could potentially freeze. While a few degrees in temperatures may not seem significant, this even slightly warmer air helps protect the vineyard from frost damage and is definitely beneficial in preventing bud loss on the vines.
As mentioned above, the river is naturally fed by underground springs. These springs come from fresh water stored and collected in a large network of underground cracks and fissures formed in the limestone clay soils.