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Our Estate Vineyard is Steeped in Family Tradition
Pedernales Cellars is fortunate to have an amazing estate vineyard located close to our winery. Kuhlken Vineyards is the heart of the family-owned winery. My brother, and Pedernales Cellars winemaker, David Kuhlken, and I relish the family history that has gone into cultivating vineyards and thoroughly enjoy our roles in helping the vineyard to evolve over the past two decades.
Our parents, Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, planted a 5 acre the vineyard in 1995 originally on a 55 acre property adjacent to State Highway 16 in Fredericksburg in the Bell Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area) in the Texas Hill Country. We have since expanded the vineyard to 17 acres with the totally property now at 295 acres. Our parents had a dream to return to their agricultural roots, having both grown up on farms for part of their respective childhoods.
Kuhlken Vineyards is situated on rolling hills with excellent soil and enjoys cooler evenings, making it one of the most ideal locations in the state for grape growing. At this site, we grow Albariño, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, and Touriga Nacional, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, for our award-winning vineyard designated wines. Each grape variety is in various stages of ripening, and we are quickly approaching harvest. The Pedernales Cellars team will soon be incredibly busy in the vineyard bringing in the grapes for the 2019 vintage.
We’re incredibly enthusiastic for harvest and want to share that excitement with you. We have two excellent ways for you to celebrate the Texas Wine Grape Harvest:
2019 Pedernales Cellars Harvest Photo Contest
Here is your opportunity to experience harvest and share it with the world. Now through August 22, 2019, we invite you to capture and share the hard work, passion and beauty of this unique time during the wine cycle in our Harvest Photo Contest.
- To enter the 2019 Pedernales Cellars Harvest Photo Contest, simply shoot a photo of any Texas wine-grape vineyard during harvest, tag your shots with @PedernalesCellars and hashtag #PedernalesHarvest19 and share them on Facebook or Instagram. We encourage you to tag other fantastic Texas wineries as well.
- Follow along via #PedernalesHarvest19 as the contest is also a great way for you to get unique insights into the winemaking process right from the start and an appreciation of the hard work, commitment and passion that goes into every bottle.
- The winner will receive tickets to Grape Stomp, and a Wine & Food Pairing event on September 15, along with Pedernales Cellars logo Riedel glasses.
2019 Kuhlken Vineyard Harvest Tour
On Saturday, August 3, beginning at 9:00 we invite you to take a little road trip to see the harvest firsthand at our estate vineyards in Fredericksburg. This tour begins at Pedernales Cellars at 9:00 a.m. and includes transportation to and from Kuhlken Vineyard, a picnic lunch, and a tour of our winery.
For more information, please visit: /events/2019-Harvest-Vineyard-Tour
Winemaker’s Corner: A Glimpse into my Spring at New Zealand’s Largest Winery
What an amazing experience! I just returned from New Zealand where I spent the spring (well, autumn there) harvesting grapes, and couldn’t wait to share my experience with you. Participating in a harvest in a different region has been my dream for quite a while now, it is an incredible way to gain understandings that make a more well-rounded winemaker. It’s one thing to read about different varieties, winemaking styles, and viticultural practices, but seeing them live in action is another matter entirely.
This spring, I decided to finally dive in and took a position working for New Zealand’s largest winery, Indevin. This winery is a sheer 1,000 times the size of Pedernales Cellars, something that I couldn’t entirely conceptualize until I arrived. It was massive! To paint you a picture, Indevin refers to its tank rooms (some of which were outdoors and a whopping 50 meters tall) as “tank farms.” These areas were so large that they were divided into North, East, South, and West sections. According to my Fit Bit, I walked 8 to 11 miles a day at work – half of which I probably did walking to and from the breakroom! Kidding. Sort of.
For the two months I was there, I worked in the “Red Cellar” where the winery’s Pinot Noir was processed as well as some small batch specialty white wines, like Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay for boutique clients. Because the red program was smaller and other wineries that did co-op worked out of this space, I had pretty regular contact with winemakers from places like New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, and Italy. Indevin was a very diverse place to work, and the diverse atmosphere probably one of my favorite things about being there. I not only learned about winemaking in New Zealand, but I was also able to talk about wine with a myriad of foreign winemakers from, well, everywhere. The Czech Republic, Chile, Argentina, China, Canada, Germany, France…pretty much every major wine region was represented. It was amazing.
Aside from the experience of collaborating with winemakers and cellar staff from different regions, I had a lot of fun playing with all the cool “toys” at a winery of that size has to offer. For example, we used a revolutionary machine called Pulsair for red wine cap management. We poked the Pulsair (which closely resembles a 10-foot metal tube) into the cap of a fermenting red wine and injected compressed air through it. The result looks like a wine volcano but is a relatively gentle way to break up the grape skins. Working with Pinot Noir is quite different from what we do in Texas with any of our grape varietals (at least at Pedernales), so it was interesting to see the processes and learn about why winemakers were implementing them. There are definitely some tricks I hope to try for our own 2019 vintage. While we might not need the same set of equipment as a winery that can process 30,000 tons of grapes, it gave me ideas for ways we might alter some of our practices with the equipment we have.
I know this might sound corny, but one of the biggest lessons for me has been a reminder of how lucky I am to make wine at Pedernales Cellars. While it was eye-opening to see how wine is made in another region of the world, I am grateful for the opportunity to work so closely with growers, fellow staff members, and grapes through every step of the process at a smaller winery in Texas. When I first started working at Pedernales Cellars, I was touched by how many dedicated hands were involved in producing the wine we make. Now, I feel this now more than ever. I love the connections that are formed through making and sharing wine – between farmers, producers, consumers and everyone in between. It’s truly special to be able to share this process and the wine with folks directly, and it’s something you simply don’t get to do on a larger scale. As amazing as it was to be working abroad, I am more excited than ever to be in Texas and can’t wait to get vintage 2019 underway!