I met a man in our tasting room last week. He and his wife stopped by for a tasting and we began to talk. Interesting couple, just out to the hill country for a couple of days to relax and explore. The topic went from one thing to another and ended up on his family history. Turns out, his great, great -grandfather came to Texas in 1836 (from Kentucky) to help the Texans gain independence from Mexico. He went all the way over to Golliad. He had been in Texas only 6 weeks when he was murdered on March 27th, 1836, by order of the Mexican president and general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
Such a story of selflessness and bravery. A story of giving it all for a cause and to help a brother in need. Seems like America could use a measure of this type of ultimate kindness and devotion. No questions of motive or deciet. These men were steadfast in their belief that freedom and liberty were worth the cost.
In our routine, day-to-day existence, we often times go too fast to remember what made (and still makes) Texas a great state. It is not just the unquestionable courage of the men of Golliad or the Alamo. It is not just our abundant wealth of natural beauty and God's bounty. Most importantly, it is the spirit of selflessness and kindness to our fellow Texans. It is knowing that help is near when we need it. A priceless gift we must never take for granted!
New Year, new traditions.
Hope all of you rang in 2019 with a smile on your face and hope in your heart. In Fredericksburg, we tried our best to cram several months of "cheers", kisses, hugs and food into a few hours. Someday we will learn....maybe.
It's cold out today. It is just the kind of day that is needed to appreciate warmth and chili and cozy blankets. Also, it is the kind of day that makes us reflect on great friends and treasured moments. Billy and I have been blessed to have such cool friends....I mean really cool friends. They are certainly not all the same, nor should they be. And, they have come into our lives over years and years.
That brings me to know that this year, 2019, will be no exception. This year we will make some new friends. Not on purpose, just because that is how life works. And, as you might guess, owning a winery is a wicked enabler for finding friends. These folks are usually happy....after all they are having some wine! Almost all have stories to share. Many have talents that make our lives richer because they are there. Poets, drinkers, thinkers, procrastinators, artists, pleasers, cooks. What a beautiful way to imagine life in 2019. To slow down and come to know magical folks who pile on experiences and add to our own story.
Yes, I am still going to be mad at myself when I don't get up and go to the gym. I am still going to wish for that new pair of Luchese boots or some other thing that i think i need. I am still probably not going to be a great chef. I will probably not spend as many hours in the vineyard as I should. But, as Marti's dad would say, 2019 is going to be "just right". It will open up and present itself for those of us who look deeper. My wish for us all is to look without fear and trust that "just right" is going to be what we get!
As 2018 draws toward a close, its with a sigh of relief that we look back - for just a moment - before we look ahead to 2019. And you, our friends, are aware, our crew has been working for some years to bring Texas Heritage wine to market. That milestone happened in May, and we have not looked back.
Our Original 300 Club, our "believers" have been our stalwart supporters during these first 8 months. It cannot be overstated how much that mean to us and to "the brand". Kudos go out to our winemaker, John Rivenburgh, for his leadership and steady hand. Kudos also to our friends at 1851 Vineyards for their custome crush work on our grapes at harvest in 2016 and part of 2017.
We have made great friends, great strides and learned much about this crazy, fun, hard business.
When our forefathers first traveled to the vast land that is not Texas, their path was rough and unpredictable. They depended on their grit and determination. They improvised. They banded together to help each other get through the rough times. They shared their resources and their knowledge. And they perservered.
In 2019 and beyond, we shall depend on each other and on our fierce Texas independance and courage to forge a new path with each of you and our Texas Heritage Wines. It's going to be fun - an advenure - and enlightening. And its just the beginning.
Thanks to each of you for the huge part you play in Texas Heritage. Please invite your friends and neighbors to experience Texas hospitality and our wine! You mean the world to us!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
What is it about the first true cold front of the year that makes us feel all good and excited for things to come and kind of cozy? I don't know what "it" is, but I know I always treasure that feeling....even if only for a day or two.
The extended rain has left everything super green and the grapevines are loving it! All the red wines from the 2018 harvest are in barrel, tucked away to age and become grownup wines in a couple of years. We are planning special events here at the Texas Heritage Tasting room, to enhance our club member's experiences.
Ok, so first the music. We are so blessed to know so many talented musicians! Every Saturday the tasting room is filled with beautiful sounds. And, we are pleased to announce that Mike Blakely and his band will perform at the Texas Heritage Vineyard, Original 300 Club Christmas Party! That fun event will be held at the tasting room on December 15. More info will be coming soon.
Bingo is again on the horizon with proceeds to benefit The Grace Center of Fredericksburg. This is the new women's shelter proposed for our county.
October 25 is the date for that event.
Finally, we are having our own little "Holiday Bazaar" on November 10. Several vendors have committed to booths and it will be a fun day at the tasting room, for sure.
Thanks, all of you, for caring about Texas Heritage. We believe that loving friends, with grateful hearts provide for a happy life.
Beginning July, 22nd, Texas Heritage grapes began to be harvested by family, friends, and neighbors. It was still cool in the early morning Sunday air. Not yet sun-up, but close. Small talk, laughs, nature, and later champagne to celebrate a fruitful harvest. Thanks to all who helped bring in the crop.
Then the work begins to transform those grapes into wine. Chemistry readings, decisions on yeast strains, temperature controlled atmosphere - all that and more go into each day on this trail from hanging on a trellis in a field to residing in a bottle with a cork.
Part science, part art. And, a large dose of luck. And prayer. Oh and patience. Lots and lots of patience. All of that becomes worthwhile when someone remarks that they like our wine!!!
So, as we move on into mid-August, grapes are beginning to be shipped down from the High Plains of Texas. Commerce and capitalism at its best. Vine vendors sell the vines to growers. Growers buy equipment like tractors and sprayers. Growers sell to vintners who buy supplies from lots of sources from oak barrels to tanks to pH meters. Truckers truck all of these goods all over God's creation. Glycol-A.C. guys are very busy keeping fruit at certain temperatures in tanks. Servicemen do their thing to keep the forklifts moving and the tractors mowing. And, the consumer buys the finished product. This product will enhance a great meal, make conversation more candid between friends or maybe even help spark a new romance. The possibilities are endless!
The circle grows and broadens and deepens. And so it goes....
Finally got a bit of rain. It smelled good and the dark skies looked good. It sounded good on the roof. Things have greened up a little already, but not so much that it look lush or anything. Just a little green. Green is good. Green is alive and growing. Alive and growing is good. It's good in nature and its good in people.
We had the great pleasure of hosting author Pat Blakely last evening in the tasting room at Texas Heritage. Pat has recently published her first novel, an historical fiction, set in sixteenth century Virginia. Pat did a highly informative and fun "Author Talk" and then fielded questions from the audience. For those of you who know her, Pat is a cheerful, loving woman who is pleased with her life. She is 83 years young, but looks half of that number. Her son, fellow author and musician, Mike Blakely, introduced his mom. It was sweet and touching and made us all smile. The best question of the night came from the youngest attendee, Salem, who was beaming from ear-to-ear when Pat told her she loved her question. I'm glad I was there. I'm glad we facilitated this little gathering. Pat is a perfect example of someone who is still "green and growing". She is still learning and searching for unfound knowledge and experiences to add depth to her life. Texas Heritage will have to search for more of these types of gatherings...when it feels right.
I am now a proud, card-carrying member of one of those BIG BOX stores in the city. I joined online yesterday and ordered 2500 pounds of imperial sugar....a pallet of sugar. Today I took my husband Billy's pickup and drove to Austin to pick up the load of sugar. The reason I did this is simple....to save money. Not on the sugar, but on the shipping. It was going to cost almost $600 to get my pallet of sugar to the winery. I'm just too tight to spend that for convenience. So, I went to pick it up. When they fork-lifted the pallet onto the back of the pickup, I literally thought the back tires were going to blow out. The entire vehicle was angled with the weight. But, I made it back to Fredericksburg just fine. However, if you ever find yourself in a situation like this, take your bungee cords and rope with you.....they do not sell those items at the BIG B.
Lastly, I wanted to share that in the next two weeks we will be releasing four new wines. (3 Reds and 1 White). The reds were from the 2016 harvest and the white was harvested in 2017. In the three reds is our FIRST Estate wine, an Estate Tempranillo. We think it is really good. Really lip-licking, last drop dripping good. As all wines are, it was a true "labor of love" from driving the t-posts to planting to harvesting to fermenting to bottling. We hope you love it as much as we do!
Almost a month into selling wine to the public. Hectic, happy, hilarious - my new chosen life.
Top 3 good things:
1. 99.9% of the people who come in are happy. They have decided to take a moment to try something new.
2. 100% of the people who work with us are fabulous, easy to be with and loving.
3. It is an awe insprining thing to try something very, very new and challenging and exciting and scary. I am trying to see that as "growing".
Reinforcement happens about ten times a day that every person has a story, a gift. People need people. They need to tell their story, their "thing". Being a good listener is hard. Billy Johnson is a great listener. He can listen so well. He makes great eye contact, he leans in, he nods and affirms the story teller. He has a gift. People feel more important around him.
Their was an entire book devoted to working on habits to be more successful. One of these habits to was something to the effect of "seek first to understand, then be understood". Seems like that is listening. I am going to try to do that better!
Whirlwind last seven days. But, Texas Heritage Tasting Room is open! Those days are mostly a blur, however, so that you can have a mental picture, those days include: Septic Tank installed and approved, wine moved in from our winery building, health department approval, water tested and approved, merchandise moved in, labelled and organized, plants planted in planter boxes out front, rack cards received, new employee meeting, point of sale system training, and the list goes on.
A special thanks to our kids who work daily with us; Cody in the vineyard and Jessica in the tasting room. It's a bit frightening to work with a pair of crazy, type A parents, who mostly still treat you like you are ten years old, but they are troopers!
I could expound on the virtues of Marti Perkins, our tasting room lead person, however, there is not enough space for that. Suffice it to say that she is so talented, funny, sweet, creative and we are truly blessed to have her on our team.
Friends are like gifts that seem to keep on giving and we need to mention a few who have given and given and given to Billy and I. Tim and Janie Davis are always saying "yes" and they deserve a Gold Medal! Judy Boone has to be one of the only people in the world who NEVER says "no". Judy's face will be seen in the tasting room on a regular basis. Teresa Welgehausen and Susan Behrends both went out of their way to become TABC certified and help with our first evening festivities. Our son-in-law jason also answers our calls for help on a regular basis. From driving a tractor, to moving junk, to pouring wine - very versatile! Son Cody's girlfriend, Brenna Manzare, also helps in many ways and ALWAYS has a smile!
Our two children who don't work every day with us, but work often with us are Amber Johnson George, who consults with us on lots of things, but is totally in charge of our merchandise and John Parker who has helped in the cellar taking care of our wine in barrel.
My sister, Loine Kauachi, has helped in so many ways. Picture this: she designed our fireplace on the back deck, did the food for the reception, and is getting ready to set up a sales case for her hand-made sterling jewelry. She is super talented and always my "go to" resource for help.
Finally, as a new business, Texas Heritage Vineyard has a pretty steep learning curve. That curve has been straightened out a lot with help from my BFF KK Welch, owner of Majesty Tours. She and sister Kelly, have trusted us with wine tour groups on our opening weekend. That's a lot of trust! Thanks Majesty!
Come see us! Its a fun place to be: 3245 E US Hwy 290, Fredericksburg. Hours are 11-6 from Thursday to Monday. Sundays 12-6pm.
Check out our coming events. Join our club. We want you and we want to show you our Texas Heritage hospitality.