The grape and wine industry may benefit from what appears as one of the driest years on record in the South Plains.
"This year is awful dry," said Vijay Reddy, owner of Reddy Vineyards, "we've been watering since December."
But the lack of water is not yet a problem, mostly because during growing season, "grapes don't like moistures on their leaves," said Neal Newsom, owner of Newsom Vineyards. "The moisture on the leaves triggers fungus."
Lack of moisture in the air because of the drought and the heat reduce grape-plaguing diseases, said Greg Bruni, vice president and executive winemaker at Llano Estacado Winery. The Lubbock area has not recorded heavy rains since October.
While other farmers have called the drought a nightmare, vintners have survived.
"While cotton farmers work with thousands of acres, a big vineyard in Texas is 100 acres," Bruni explained. "Vineyards don't have to look too much for water to irrigate their crops, and the aquifer is not drying up. We're not irrigating as many acres."
Vineyards need about two-thirds of what cotton fields need and about half of what peanut farms require.
"A drought actually helps," said Newsom, "but this drought is too deep."
If rains continue to stay away from the area, grape growers could feel the pain of their counterparts because of a lack of water to irrigate.
Up to this point, the drought has benefited vineyards, Newsom explained. And like other farmers in the area, those growing grapes have to pump their water from the Ogallala Aquifer.
"All that water is not free," Newsom said. "We could use some rain."
Growing grapes isn't perfect, even with ideal weather for the present.
The challenges affect some more than others. The wind, dust and a late freeze in May have raised farmers' concerns this year.
Winds have not helped pollination for some types of white grapes.
"We know now some types will not produce very well," said Newsom. But other farmers, like Reddy, say this is a good year.
"My crops are already looking 98 percent better than previous years," Reddy added. A good year for grapes is a good year for wines, he added.
Grapes already started growing in April and will continue to ripen until September or October, when they will be harvested.
During harvest season, the lack of rain is also good because the water lowers the sugar in the fruit and delays harvesting.
The good environment for grapes the Texas High Plains is having is definitely not the case for other areas in the country, even for some in the state, said Reddy.
In California, for example, snows and late precipitation have vintners shaking their heads. Plant growth in some areas of California is a month behind, leaving those at wineries across the state worried about the supply.