Pedernales Cellars began with Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, who planted their first vineyard near Fredericksburg in the early 1990s. During this time Texas wine pioneers worked experimentally with grape varieties and viticulture practices in order to master winemaking in the Texas terroir. Over time the Kuhlken vineyard started producing consistently high quality fruit with bold, intense flavors.
In 2005, Larry and Jeanine’s children, David and Julie began plans for what would become Pedernales Cellars. Grown from the success of Kuhlken Vineyards, they developed the concept for a boutique winery focused on handcrafted, small-lot wines, and working with varietals that thrive in the rugged Texas Hill Country terrain.
Pedernales Cellars continues to be a family affair, with David as winemaker and Julie overseeing hospitality, marketing, and design. Their children, the third generation of the family, have apprenticed in all aspects of the vineyard and winery.
Pedernales Cellars draws its name from geography and history – the Pedernales River runs through the Texas Hill Country, and “pedernales” means flint in Spanish. The inspiration came when an old flint Indian arrowhead was found in the vineyard and part of an Indian flint stone ax was excavated on the winery site. The serendipity of these two finds connected the vineyard, winery, the region, and its history.
We not only strive to make the highest quality wines in Texas, but we are equally committed do so in a sustainable way. We are proud of what we’ve done to exercise stewardship and realize this vision.
Sustainability starts with our winemaking facilities, which were designed to take advantage of the natural insulation of limestone and the humidifying and cooling Hill Country soil for barrel storage of wines. Our cellar and case storage facility are cooled via a geothermal cooling system reducing cooling energy by half.
We utilize open bin fermentation and compost by-products of the winemaking process. We clean our barrels using steam rather than water to reduce water usage. We also sell used barrels, available in our tasting room.
In our vineyard we minimize water use through good ground cover management, and promote natural pest management through the use of local species (such as Purple Martins for insects). Compost from the winery is also recycled back into the vineyard.
Our tasting room features a number of local and sustainable products, including oils by The Spicewood Food Company. We work to recycle the majority of our tasting room cardboard waste. Our winery building also uses CFL and solar lighting, rather than incandescent lighting. We collect rainwater in a 55,000 gallon tank in order to water the landscaping.
The Texas Hill Country enables us to make incredible wines, and we feel a responsibility to be good stewards of the land. Through removing cedar overgrowth and invasive plant species around our winery, we’ve been able to re-establish seeps and springs that had previously been lost, making a better habitat for the native Hill Country wildlife on our property.
Starting in 2015 Pedernales Cellars has partnered with the Hill Country Film Festival in their aim to develop the cinematic arts in central Texas and beyond. In addition to contributing to the festival and the summer film-making camp for local youths, Pedernales Cellars underwrites two of the awards given during the festival.