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Pedernales Cellars

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Melanie Rossignol Carter
September 21, 2022 | Melanie Rossignol Carter

Top 5 Reasons to Join the Pedernales Cellars Wine Club

I often hear people talking about the importance of “finding their tribe.” There are definitely benefits to belonging to a social group or a community of like-minded people. Many of us get a lot of benefits from that feeling of connectedness that comes with joining a group.

Fostering a community of wine lovers who want to learn more, enjoy excellent small-production wine, and know that they will have a lot of fun in the process is exactly what we aim to do with our Pedernales Cellars Wine Clubs. In addition to the importance of cultivating a community of wine lovers, we also want our wine club members to feel special with exclusive perks.

Here are the Top Five Reasons To join our wine club:

1.   First Access to All of Our Events  

Throughout the year we host not only exclusive wine club events but also fun and educational events that are open to the public. Our wine club members always get first dibs on tickets for all of our events. Each of our wine club pick-up parties features exclusive experiences for our members such as:

  • Educational Seminars with our co-founder, Julie Kuhlken
  • Signature Series Wine Tastings with our winemakers, David Kuhlken and Joanna Wilczoch
  • The first tastes of our newly released wines
  • Delicious food pairings with newly released wines

Our Fall Wine Club Pick-Up Party is happening this Sunday, September 25. Our Winter Wine Club Pick-Up Party will be held on December 4, 2022, on the gorgeous grounds of the winery in Stonewall, Texas.  

Of course, our club members were the first invited to attend our Fall Feast Vintner's Dinner which is coming up on Saturday, October 29, 2022.

“I’ve been a member here for years. The wine is phenomenal, and the people are always, always so kind, knowledgeable, and thoughtful. I’ll never give up my membership. Pedernales Cellars is world-class wine and service. The Texas Hill-country view can’t be beaten either!”— Mary Longloy

2.   Access to Library Released Wines

Pedernales Cellars offers a unique wine experience by releasing older vintages of our most-prized wines from our library exclusively to our wine club members. These Library Wines that we have carefully aged in our temperature and humidity-controlled cellar over the years exist in extremely limited quantities typically with only one or two cases still available. Once we notify our members, our Library Wines typically sell out immediately. Library Wine orders can be picked up at the winery or shipped to your home.

“The wines are great, but the staff are why we are still members.” — Cass and Carolyn Moore

3.   Complimentary Wine Tastings

What is better than a glass of amazing wine? A free glass of amazing wine. Our wine club members receive a complimentary tasting or glass of wine with each visit to our tasting room. Enjoy!

“Always good wine, informative friendly staff and I love the laid-back vibe of the vineyard.”— Eva Vega

4.   Savings on Wine, Merchandise & Events

Not only do our members get our best pricing of at least 20% off on every purchase of wine and merchandise, but we also offer discounts on our fantastic events like our Retrospective Viognier Tasting. We are hosting a retrospective tasting of our 100% Texas Viogniers with vintages ranging from 2015-2021 paired with cheeses. Join us on Sunday, October 2, 2022, from 11 am-1 pm for a guided retrospective tasting led by co-owner Dr. Julie Kulhlken.

“Always a pleasure visiting. The staff is very personal, makes you feel right at home.” — Heather Simons

5.   Access to Member-Exclusive Wines

This Autumn, our wine club members are getting first access and exclusive wine club wines including:

  • 2021 Viognier Reserve — We are excited to have this wine back again after not making a 2020 vintage. It is definitely one of our most sought-after wines, and the 2021 vintage is one not to miss. This wine has lots of tropical notes such as candied pineapple and kiwi, as well as golden delicious apple, pear, and hints of brioche. Wine Club Members get first access.
  • 2019 Tempranillo Reserve — Our Tempranillo Reserve is always one of our most popular wines and annually gathers high praise at wine competitions. The 2019 vintage is one of the last blends to have our estate fruit in it before replanting the Kuhlken Estate Vineyards. It has lovely notes of chocolate-covered cherries, leather, black currants, cedar, black pepper and bramble, clove, and cigar. Wine Club Members get first access.
  • 2018 Block Zero — This is the fourth and last vintage of this wine made with grapes grown in the front portion of Kuhlken Estate Vineyards planted by the Kuhlkens in 1995. It shares some similarities with Pinot Noir with notes of cherry cola, cherry kirsch, and new leather. It is fruit on the palate with menthol, cola, and green peppercorn with bright acidity. Available exclusively to wine club members.
  • 2019 Carignan — This is the second time that we have released a varietal Carignan. However, first time was as a Nouveau-style wine within the Signature Series. This release is a larger bottling with cherries, strawberries, tomato leaf, hibiscus, and dried herbs are present on the nose. This wine is light-bodied, soft and juicy on the palate. Available exclusively to wine club members.
  • Signature Series 2018 Farmhouse Petite Sirah — This single vineyard wine showcases what Petit Sirah can be on its own. The bouquet of this wine is rich with notes of ripe blackberries, blueberries, violets, white pepper, and bramble. On the palate rich dark fruit dominates with a velvety mouthfeel and luscious tannins. Available exclusively to wine club members.

Ready to Join?

We offer three different levels of club membership to suit your needs.

  • Our Hilltop Club lets you stay on top of all of the wine club-exclusive wines at Pedernales Cellars with quarterly shipments of 3 bottles chosen by our winemaker.
  • The Vista Club gives you a broader vista on Pedernales Cellars wines, with quarterly shipments of 6 bottles chosen by our winemaker.
  • Join the Panorama Club if you want to drink in the full panorama of what we do at Pedernales Cellars, with quarterly shipments of a customized case of 12 bottles selected by you. In addition, our Panorama Club members receive 25% savings on wines.

Each quarter your wines will be available for pickup at our club events or they can be delivered straight to your doorstep.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our tribe

Time Posted: Sep 21, 2022 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Top 5 Reasons to Join the Pedernales Cellars Wine Club Permalink
Evan McKibben
September 19, 2022 | Evan McKibben

The Impact of the Drought on the 2022 Harvest

One thing defines this year’s grape growing season: drought. Sure, year-in and year-out we have weather challenges with viticulture in Texas, but this year the lack of rain was the most significant factor impacting our vineyards.

Let me put this in perspective. In a normal year, we get about 32 inches of rain on our Kuhlken Estate Vineyard just north of Fredericksburg, Texas. This year by the end of July, we only had 3.5 inches of rain. The rains never came. The driest year I’ve ever farmed.

The drought and extensive heat were really hard on the vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. The lack of rain began impacting the vines during the winter, causing a delay in bud break this Spring. Budbreak came about two to three weeks later than usual, which is the latest I’ve seen in 17 years of farming.

Kuhlken Estate Vineyard is in a phase of rebuilding. We have replanted significant portions of the property over the past two years with almost 6,000 new vines in 2021 and close to 7,000 more this year. The drought made it hard on the young vines. We had to irrigate with well water almost non-stop to keep them alive. We were in survival mode. The one-year-old vines had better root structures and were more drought tolerant, but the newly planted vines needed a lot of water. We were watering in 12-hour stretches across 14 zones for 11 weeks straight.

Despite the late bud break, we had an early harvest in the Hill Country and in the High Plains. The intense heat spurred the grapes to ripen quickly pushing up the sugar levels. We are three to four weeks ahead of our typical harvest dates. In 2019 we harvested in mid-October, but this year we were done by the end of August. We usually have a lull between completing the harvest in the Hill Country and starting our work in the High Plains. Not this year. We were bringing in grapes from both AVAs at the same time, which required more planning and logistics to bring in the grapes and process them in the cellar. It was a fast-paced harvest.

Small Lots in the Hill Country and High Plains

We did not harvest grapes from the Kuhlken Estate Vineyards this year with the acreage all replanted in the past two years. Our Petite Sirah started producing second-year fruit, but we cut it to allow the vines to continue to mature for future vintages. We expect to get more than a ton of grapes from that block next year, and 3 to 5 tons an acre in a couple more years.

We manage Loyal Valley Vineyards near Fredericksburg, and we picked a beautiful crop there this year. The Mourvèdre looks excellent with larger, high-quality clusters. I can’t wait to taste this vintage when it is ready in a few years. The Cabernet vines produced a pretty light crop with small, tight clusters. I’m confident it will make stellar wine.

Our team worked closely with our grower partners in the High Plains. David Kuhlken, as always, was our field general in the vineyards directing our work. I made decisions on the ground about when to pick grapes in each block that we manage in the High Plains. Fortunately, we had excellent crops from the blocks managed by our long-term growers at the Bingham Family Vineyards and Reddy Vineyards. The Viognier, Graciano, and Tempranillo all look fantastic. We got excellent Roussanne and Tempranillo from Lahey and other vineyards. We also picked a beautiful lot of Mourvèdre and gorgeous Grenache for rosé from Desert Willow Vineyards near Seminole, Texas and look forward to these wines.

And Then the Rains Came

We were very lucky that we were able to pick all of our fruit before the rains came in late August and early September. There has been seven inches of rain since we harvested. It looks like Spring at Kuhlken Estate Vineyards now with all of the rain. We have wildflowers now. It is a blessing to have this rain, as we still have two months of growing season for our baby vines. This will give the vines a nice long rest before they need to begin producing next year. We will guard against winter damage by watering and applying Zinc.

Small But Excellent 2022 Vintage

While we had high-quality fruit from our vineyards, the crop yield tonnage was down across the board for all vineyards that we work with. We had smaller clusters, and smaller berries on the vines, resulting in lower weight of the crop per acre. Where we typically have harvested four 4 tons per acre, we picked two tons this year. A huge benefit from smaller berries is that we get more skin with each lot, which leads to greater structure, color and more phenolics in the wine. The wine will be awesome in this vintage, but we will just make less of it.

Even though the overall quality of the grapes is excellent, we have some challenges. Much of the fruit came in with high pH, and low acidity. High pH is difficult because if the juice isn’t handled with care, it allows for bacteria to get into the wine. With the compressed harvest schedule and fruit coming in from both regions at the same time, it was a tricky year for winemakers, and our winemaking team was certainly up for the challenge. 

While we wait for the 2022 vintage to be ready, we get to enjoy the wines made from the beautiful harvests of 2018 through 2021. Open a bottle with your friends and family and raise a toast to another successful harvest. 

Time Posted: Sep 19, 2022 at 11:45 AM Permalink to The Impact of the Drought on the 2022 Harvest Permalink