Let's Talk over Drinks
There is nothing better than the Texas hill Country in Spring. Vibrant bluebonnets and Indian primroses splash the roadsides with their cheerful hues. Bluebirds chirp cheerful sonnets to one another, gathering nest supplies and relishing in the balmy weather. Electric green tendrils of grapevines unfurl from their wintery casks in search of sunlight. It’s a glorious season in Texas that coaxes everyone outdoors into the warm air. Picnics, glasses of crisp rose, and frisbee games await. These occasions are always more special when they are shared with family.
As a mother myself, I relish family time. To carve out time in my busy schedule to connect with my girls, I have fashioned the perfect family-friendly Hill Country Day Trips that we all enjoy. Here are a few suggestions for your family day get-aways.
Kick off your trip with a proper lunch at the Hye Market next (it’s in, you guessed it, Hye, TX). A charmingly rustic building, the market serves deli sandwiches, fresh salads, naan bread pizzas, and more! They even have a tasting bar where you can sample several local wines and beers.
We love educational opportunities during family outings. One of our favorite places to visit is the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Stonewall, which is an excellent way to combine both hiking and learning. The LBJ Ranch just west of Johnson City is home to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s boyhood home. View exhibits about President Johnson’s life, take pictures of the park’s majestic longhorns, or talk a walk to Johnson Settlement on a trail that is less than a mile round-trip. What’s better than sneaking in a little history lesson while having quality family time?
If you love the beauty of wildflowers, take in the sea of brilliant poppies, bluebonnets and other flowers at Wildseed Farm in Fredericksburg. Or, drive the scenic Willow City Loop between the towns of Fredericksburg and Llano, off Highway 16. The gorgeous bucolic setting is loaded with bluebonnets blanketing the rolling hills.
And finally, after a day in the sun, it’s time for wine! Pack up the family and visit our estate vineyard in Stonewall. Schedule a winery tour for the whole group and marvel at our cavernous barrel room. Later, let the younger family members play tag, throw a football, or take a catnap on our expansive property while you sit back and take in the sweeping Hill Country views with a glass of award-winning wine. You can even bring snacks or indulge in a cheese board, basking in the sunlight.
We are proud residents of the Texas Hill Country and would love you to experience a piece of heaven with your family.
As you take a winter tour of Texas wine country and press your nose up against your car window, you’re greeted with acres of barren vines, leafless and unmoving. The silence of winter seems to still have her icy grip on the plants, and they appear to be almost lifeless. However, the magic of bud break is about to begin, and we are hard at work preparing the vines for the growing season ahead.
Our new vineyard foreman, Sherah Mills, has been tirelessly pruning our vineyards for the last few weeks. We are lucky to have her; she is a recent graduate of Texas Tech with a degree in horticulture and has experience working in her family's vineyard in Stonewall. She understands that winter pruning is very important to ensure that this year’s crop of grapes is both high quality and concentrated.
All of our pruning is done by hand, giving us the chance to lovingly choose the training regimen for each individual plant. We finalize our pruning protocol in the winter months based on the last year’s growing season, with adjustments made for how the vineyard is looking this season.
Admittedly, we are a nerdy bunch and like to experiment with variations on certain rows to see how the vines will react and adapt. Because of our studies in our test rows, we have found that some of our more vigorous grapes, such as Touriga Nacional, like to be left with more buds per spur so they have somewhere to push their energy. We are always happy to work with the vines’ needs in order to ensure a great crop!
Unfortunately, temperatures have recently plunged and we Texas grape growers are watching the weather with apprehension. And for good reason: a constant string of warmer days preceding this cold snap, which coaxed out a few buds in some of the white grapes. A freeze could completely destroy them. Luckily, a plant will push out a second wave of “insurance” buds, but the yields will be significantly reduced, nonetheless. We have our fingers crossed and will be assessing the damages, if any, in the near future. Say a prayer for us, PC lovers!
On a lighter note, I am heading to New Zealand this week to work the wine-grape harvest there and am looking forward to applying what I have learned about their vineyard and winemaking techniques to our operation. Stay tuned for updates!
See Bud Break in Action
If you want to see the vineyard progress first hand, we have just the thing for you. Sign up for our Kuhlken Vineyard Bud Break Tour. First planted in 1995, this vineyard has contributed fruit to some of our favorite wines throughout the years and we would love to share its history with you. This tour includes transportation to and from the vineyard from Pedernales Cellars, a picnic lunch, and a tour of our winery. Sign up on the Pedernales Cellars website.