The Blanc du Soleil Field Day will be held June 10 in Goliad. The event celebrates the release of blanc du soleil, a new grape variety for hot, humid climates.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service event will begin at 8 a.m. at the Christopher Family Vineyard, 5300 Old Goliad Road. The event will conclude around 1 p.m.
The cost is $30 if registered by June 1 at https://tx.ag/BlancDuSoeilFDReg. The price includes a wine-paired luncheon and tasting. Late registration is $40.
Vineyard owners Pam and Bill Christopher will lead a tour of the 5-year-old blanc du soleil grapevines. Justin Scheiner, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension state viticulturist in the Texas A&M Department of Horticultural Sciences, Bryan-College Station, will also lead the tour and discuss his work that provided the evaluation data for blanc du soleil’s release.
Following the tour, attendees will drive to the Wimberly Building at the Goliad County Fairgrounds, 925 Jefferson St., to learn more about blanc du soleil, eat lunch and participate in a wine pour.
“This is such a unique opportunity for attendees to not only tour a vineyard and see a variety that is just being released, but to also get to taste that variety at the wine-paired luncheon,” said Fran Pontasch, AgriLife Extension viticulture program specialist for the Gulf Coast and event coordinator.
“Also, the cost for all of this is just $30, which is incredible, especially considering participants will also hear from a panel of speakers well-know within the industry,” she said.
Pierce’s disease resistant
Blanc du soleil is a new release that is Pierce’s disease resistant and shows moderate resistance to downy mildew.
To have another variety that is resistant to Pierce’s disease is big news for the industry, Pontasch said.
The variety was bred at Florida A&M University, and viticulture evaluations for the release of blanc du soleil were conducted by AgriLife Extension at the trials planted at the Christopher Family Vineyard.
Blanc du soleil’s parentage includes blanc du bois, a popular, widely grown white wine grape in the southeastern U.S., known for its premier wine quality and Pierce’s disease resistance.
Blanc du soleil event speakers
In addition to the Christophers and Scheiner, blanc du soleil field day speakers include Pontasch; Jim Kamas, AgriLife Extension fruit specialist, Fredericksburg; Olufemi Alabi, Ph.D., plant pathology and microbiology specialist, Weslaco; Mike Poole, co-founder and head winemaker at Blue Lotus Winery, Texas Mead Works and Saint Michael’s Brewery, Seguin.
The tasting and wine-paired luncheon will be presented by Erika Bochat, AgriLife Extension family and community health regional program leader, Corpus Christi; Karen Lyssy, AgriLife Extension family and community health agent, Calhoun County; and Boogie Barber, AgriLife Extension health agent, Goliad and Refugio counties. The luncheon will feature AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight recipes.