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Pedernales Cellars

Let's Talk over Drinks


Julie Kuhlken
October 3, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

The Kuhlken family legacy behind Pedernales Cellars

"The brother-sister team wanted to build a Texas boutique winery with an emphasis on making world class wines from their Texas-grown grapes"  Link

Time Posted: Oct 3, 2023 at 3:50 PM Permalink to The Kuhlken family legacy behind Pedernales Cellars Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
October 3, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

7 underrated wine regions worth your attention

"Pedernales Cellars, Becker Vineyards, Grape Creek Vineyards and William Chris Vineyards are several notable, award-winning producers that have both brought attention to and helped shape the region"  Link

Time Posted: Oct 3, 2023 at 2:33 PM Permalink to 7 underrated wine regions worth your attention Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
October 2, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

Seriously. Texas Wine.

Kuhlken family in estate vineyard

What to Know about Texas Wine

Texas wines are making a name for themselves on the national and international stage, and there's no better time to explore the best wineries in the Texas Hill Country than in the vibrant month of October. But how much do you know about the burgeoning Texas wine scene? In celebration of Texas Wine Month, we’re sharing the must know facts about Texas wine. Pour a glass and settle in!

Poppies and four bottles of wine

Texas has 8 distinct AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) 

In Texas – you guessed it – everything is bigger. That's why even our AVAs have AVAs within them! An AVA is a designated grape-growing region with distinguishing features, a name, and a delimited boundary. Texas has 8 distinct AVAs and the Texas Hill Country AVA is the third largest in America with over 9 million acres in the sprawling center of the state. 

Two distinct microclimates are designated within this AVA: Bell Mountain AVA just north of Fredericksburg where our Kuhlken Estate Vineyard is located, and Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country AVA, a limestone rich area best known for Chardonnay and Viogner. 

In addition to the grapes we grow here in the Texas Hill Country AVA, Pedernales Cellars sources 100 percent Texas grapes from family vineyards in the Texas High Plains AVA and West Texas.

Texas Terroir is Distinct, but Diverse 

Terroir is the natural environment in which a wine is produced, including the soil, topography and climate. The terroir imparts distinct flavors and aromas to wines. Limestone and granite are the dominant soils throughout the Texas Hill Country and are the backbone of its terroir, which is often compared to Rioja, Spain and the Rhone Valley in France. Of course, since Texas is so large, soil types can vary from vineyard to vineyard and the diversity of the region lends itself to a wide range of grapes, including Tempranillo and Viogner. 

Many Grape Varietals Thrive in Texas 

Speaking of grapes: warm days and cool nights are a part of the charm of a Texas Hill Country winery getaway, and certain European grapes really enjoy this climate too. Particularly, Tempranillo, Viogner and Grenache thrive with the shining sun and the cool breeze that flows down from the hills. In fact, Texas was among the first regions in the country to have significant plantings of European grape varieties, dating all the way back to the early 19th century in the El Paso area. Take that, California!  Across Texas, more than 80 types of grapes are grown, mostly in the High Plains AVA.

Couple in swing on estate

You can sip your way through the best of Texas wines via the Texas Hill Country Winery Association and its Texas Wine Month passport event

The Texas Hill Country, with its rolling landscapes and charming small towns like Fredericksburg, is home to some of the best wineries in Texas. Along the Texas Wine Trail, there are more than 60 wineries to enjoy! As you head along the trail, picture-perfect vineyards stretch across the hills making for a scenic day trip from major cities like Austin, San Antonio and Houston. During Texas Wine Month in October, you can enjoy a self-guided tour of Texas Hill Country wineries, including our tasting room here at Pedernales Cellars. We look forward to hosting you and raising our glasses to the beauty of Texas wines. Cheers!

Time Posted: Oct 2, 2023 at 4:08 PM Permalink to Seriously. Texas Wine. Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
June 28, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

Patriotic Pairings for Independence Day Grilling

Happy Birthday, America! Let’s celebrate the 247th anniversary of the founding of the United States with grilled dishes paired with wine made in the greatest state in the union, Texas.

Grilling out is as traditional on Independence Day as fireworks. The key to pairing wine with grilled food is simplicity. Select wines that you know you will enjoy and match the primary flavors of the wine with the dominant flavors of your food. Here are a few pairings that will delight your tastebuds.

Vintners Reserve for 4th of July

Zucchini and Cauliflower Skewers with Feta Paired with 2021 Lyla  

Grilled veggies are perfect for a side dish and for a main course. We like hearty vegetables with crisp, chilled white wine. Try this recipe for veggie skewers with our 2021 Lyla.


  • 4 large zucchini and summer squash
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 8 skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. crumbled feta
  • 8 skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes


  • Preheat grill to medium-high.
  • Shave zucchini and yellow squash into long, beautiful strips.
  • Skewer zucchini and yellow squash in folded curves alternating with cauliflower florets.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender and slightly charred.
  • Crumble feta cheese over the grilled veggies and serve.

Our 2021 Lyla is a traditional Rhône-style white blend made with Roussanne from the Hill Country Estate at Kuhlman Cellars and Viognier from the Texas High Plains. It’s a medium-bodied wine with stone fruit, ripe pear, apples, and honeydew melon flavors with a touch of flint and minerality. Grilled veggies typically have a stronger flavor than roasted or steamed. The round fruit flavors of the wine balance well with the slight sweetness of the zucchini and the crunch of the cauliflower.

Cheddar Bacon Hamburgers Paired with 2019 Texas Mourvèdre

Burgers are an essential summertime food. An important consideration when pairing wine with hamburgers is to select higher-fat ground beef with the oomph to kick up the fruit flavors in the wine a notch. Hamburgers are delicious with full-bodied red wines with plenty of tannins, like Mourvèdre.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup real bacon bits
  • 4 hamburger buns


  • Preheat the grill to high heat.
  • In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, Cheddar cheese, horseradish, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and bacon bits.
  • Shape the mixture into 4 hamburger patties.
  • Lightly oil the grill grate.
  • Place hamburger patties on the grill, and cook for 4 minutes per side, or until your preferred temperature.
  • Serve on buns with your favorite fixins.

Our gold medal-winning 2019 Texas Mourvèdre is a blend made predominantly with Mourvèdre with a healthy splash of Petite Sirah, and Syrah grown in vineyards located in the Texas High Planes. It has deep aromas of dark fruits, red currants, earth, cedar, herbs, and wild game. This medium-bodied wine has lovely black cherry pie flavors and a long vanilla finish. The grippy tannin in this rich Mourvèdre is softened by the grilled hamburger's heavy protein and fat content, making it even more flavorful and smooth.

St. Louis Spare Ribs Paired with 2019 Vintner's Reserve

Slow-smoked pork ribs are a delicious dish for Independence Day. Ribs are excellent with a wide variety of wines including fruity white, rosé, and bold red wines. Here is a recipe for fall-off-the-bone tender spare ribs.


  • 2 slabs St. Louis spare ribs, trimmed
  • ½ cup coarse ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar


  • Prepare your smoker for indirect cooking at 275⁰.
  • Combine salt and pepper and season ribs liberally on both sides with the mixture.
  • Place ribs on the smoker and add pecan wood chunks to the fire for smoke.
  • Mix water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle to spritz ribs every 45 minutes.
  • After 2.5 hours remove ribs from the smoker, spritz with vinegar mixture, and wrap in aluminum foil.
  • Return ribs to the smoker and continue to cook for approximately 2 hours. Check ribs for doneness after 1 hour and every 15 minutes after. Once desired tenderness is reached pull off the smoker.
  • Let the ribs rest for 15 minutes and serve.

Our 2019 Vintner’s Reserve is a nontraditional red blend made with Texas-grown Tannat, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Touriga, and Syrah. It’s an aromatic wine with lots of blackberry bramble, blueberries, plum, and cola with a hint of spice. The flavors match the aromas in this medium-bodied wine with integrated tannins. The 2019 Vintner’s Reserve is delicious with pork ribs. The higher fat content in the ribs matches well with the firm tannins in this wine, and the smoke enhances the fruitiness of the wine.

We hope you enjoy these delicious wines with grilled foods over the long holiday weekend. Stop by the tasting room to pick up a mixed case to make sure you have plenty of wine for your guests. Happy Independence Day! 

Time Posted: Jun 28, 2023 at 2:15 PM Permalink to Patriotic Pairings for Independence Day Grilling Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
May 26, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

Simple Summer Wine and Picnic Pairings

It’s here! The unofficial kick-off to summer starts every Memorial Day weekend. It is a perfect time to relax outside in the breeze with a simple summer picnic paired with excellent wines.

Two people pinicing on the lawn at Pedernales Cellars Simple Summer Wine and Picnic Pairings

Picking picnic food should be straightforward. Go with easy-to-make, easy-to-eat food that will taste great now and still taste great after a two-hour car ride and is easy to clean up. The less prep and fewer utensils required, the better. What are your favorite picnic foods? Fresh fruits, an assortment of cheeses and crackers, pasta salad, hearty sandwiches, fried chicken, and a charcuterie board with fresh bread are excellent selections.

In addition to the delightful food, make sure you have all the necessary gear.

Picnic Essentials Checklist

  • Wine
  • A corkscrew 
  • Plastic wine glasses
  • A picnic basket and/or a cooler with ice
  • A picnic blanket
  • Paper plates or re-usable plastic plates
  • Picnic utensils
  • Napkins  
  • Cutting board and a sharp knife
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Water

Now for the good stuff: the picnic wines. The best wines are the wines you enjoy. However, you can never go wrong with chilled, crisp white, and versatile rosé wines. Here are a few recommendations.

2021 Viognier Reserve

The 2021 Pedernales Cellars Viognier is a vintage to remember. We aged this wine in 40% of new French oak over a period of seven months and a little longer in a 500L puncheon. It has vibrant tropical notes like candied pineapple and kiwi, as well as golden delicious apple, pear, and hints of brioche. It goes really well with granny smith apples, fried chicken, mild cheddar, and goat cheese with honey.

2021 Lyla

Our second vintage of Lyla, named after our winemaker’s late rescue dog, is as beautiful, unfailing, and complex as she was. The blend is a traditional Rhône-style wine made with Roussanne from the Hill Country Estate at Kuhlman Cellars and Viognier from the Texas High Plains. It’s a medium-bodied wine with stone fruit, pear, golden delicious apples, and honeydew melon flavors with a touch of flint and minerality. It has zippy acidity that makes it an excellent match with deviled eggs, fattier cheeses like triple cream brie, as well as cured meats.

2021 Texas High Plains Vermentino

We love Vermentino. This is our first vintage getting it from Canted Country Vineyards in Lamesa, Texas, and we are really pleased with the fruit. This wine fermented entirely in stainless steel tanks and aged on its lees almost until bottling in January. It has lovely orange blossom and lemon aromas with sea breeze and fresh green herbs. The palate has a slight creaminess to it with notes of peaches and lime. It is super food friendly with a smooth mouthfeel that is complimented by lively acidity. It is perfect with pasta salad, aged gouda, and bruschetta.

2021 Over the Moon Rosé

Rosé is the quintessential picnic wine. Well, let’s be real, it’s the quintessential spring, summer, and fall wine. Our 2021 Over the Moon Rosé is made with a blend of red grapes including Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese, and Carignan that marry incredibly well to create a softer style of rosé that is a fantastic accompaniment to food and incredible all on its own. The nose on this rosé is delicate with peach and apricot, as well as pear and rose petals. It tastes exactly how it smells, with a creamy texture and long finish. Bring it to every picnic for the rest of your life. It’s lovely with charcuterie, and specifically prosciutto.  

Pedernales Cellars Picnic on the Lawn

The Perfect Picnic Place

If you have already selected the perfect picnic spot on the banks of a cool stream under a shady tree, swing by the winery and stock your cooler with a selection of these summer-ready wines. If you’re fresh out of ideas for where to go, you can picnic on our lawn. Bring your blanket, grab the bottles of your choice, and spread out on our spacious lawn. You can even order a cheese plate in our tasting room. We’ll supply a magnificent view of the Texas Hill Country.

See you soon!  

Time Posted: May 26, 2023 at 11:25 AM Permalink to Simple Summer Wine and Picnic Pairings Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
March 24, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

Employee Spotlight: Head Winemaker, Joanna Wilczoch

It feels a little odd to talk about someone who is alive for Women’s History Month, but that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re shining our spotlight on our head winemaker, Joanna Wilczoch, who is definitely making history in our cellar.

Joanna Wizczoch Sampling wine from the barrel

Joanna is a first-generation American, whose parents were born in Poland and immigrated to the U.S. in 1982. Before entering the wine industry, she worked in social services for several years. While working a part-time job in wine sales, Joanna fell in love with wine and wanted to get more involved.

She joined the Pedernales Cellars team in 2016 working in the vineyard. At the time she was taking winemaking classes at Texas Tech. That helped her transition into a role as an assistant winemaker where she really found her groove. Joanna’s winemaking skills and excellent palate helped her break through the glass ceiling in 2019 to become the head winemaker, working alongside executive winemaker, David Kuhlken.

That same year, she also interned at a winery in New Zealand to further hone her skills. She jokes that the real reason she chose to work in the Southern Hemisphere is so she could work two harvests in one year. In reality, she learned a lot to help her lead the wine-making team at Pedernales Cellars. Joanna tells us about that experience and what she is looking forward to in this Q&A.

Q: What did you learn while working in New Zealand that has helped you with winemaking at Pedernales Cellars?

A: I spent the spring harvest season in 2019 at the largest winery in New Zealand, Indevin. My goal was to experience how things are done in a different country and pick up skills to be a more well-rounded winemaker. While there, I primarily worked with Pinot Noir, which requires different processes than we use with the grapes at Pedernales Cellars. One of the biggest takeaways was getting comfortable with spontaneous fermentation and cold-soaking grapes. I learned to relax through the weird cycle of fermentation. I recognized that the grapes might get really funky at different points in the fermentation using those techniques, but they are just passing phases and have nothing to fear. I use that knowledge at our winery to accept the various phases of fermentation in service of the greater good of making a better wine at the end of the cycle.

Joanna outside at the vineyard

Q: We source the best grapes possible from talented growers in Texas. What grape varietals are new to the program in 2023?

A: This year we have contracted Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Nogalero Estate Vineyard in the Texas High Plains. I’m excited to work with this vineyard to get fantastic Bordeaux varieties. The vineyard is in the process of transitioning to organic growing. It is part of the strategy to combat the over-spray and drift problems of dicamba. We rely on growers who are committed to producing the highest quality fruit possible. Nogalero Estate Vineyard is growing sustainably and organically, and they do a fantastic job of managing the vineyard to keep yields low. For example, they maintain the leaf canopy well to allow the later maturing Cabernet grapes to fully ripen. The result is really high-quality grapes.

Q: What qualities do you look for in partnering with growers and how do you maintain relationships with them?

A: We start our search using the dating site, We swipe right on growers who are willing to have heart-to-heart conversations about our shared long-term goals during long walks down the vineyard rows. We want growers who aren’t afraid of commitment.

But seriously, we like working with growers who are willing to learn and grow along with us. We’re fortunate to have several long-term contracts with grape growers who are focused on the quality of the crop and not quantity. We value relationships based on shared commitments and strive to be good partners as well.

On the light-hearted side of that partnership, we bring gifts of wine that we make with their grapes. We bottle early trials of the wine to give them a sneak peek at wine made with different versions of fermentation so they have an idea of what their grapes can do. We separate various blocks from their vineyards so they can taste the difference in their growing approaches. These kinds of trials help them perfect their grape-growing craft, and it goes a long way in showing them how committed we are to their success.

Q: What are you excited about for this growing season?  

A: I’m really excited about our continued work with Desert Willow Vineyard in Seminole, Texas. They continue to expand their plantings and acreage under vine in an immaculately maintained vineyard. They are in the process of transitioning all crops to be certified organic. Last year was the first year of organic practice on the vineyard, and all new plantings of varietals such as Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet are certified organic. In the 2023 harvest, we’ll get Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, and Syrah from the vineyard. They are planting Carignan and Petite Sirah specifically for us for future vintages.

Joanna tasting wine in the barrel room

Q: Which wines are you excited about releasing this year?

A: We’re releasing our 2021 red wines and our 2022 white wines this year. Working with wines from both growing seasons at the same time is an excellent illustration of the differences in vintages. The 2021 growing year was cooler and a bit challenging with the fruit. The cooler conditions resulted in lighter-bodied, less tannic, and fruitier wines than we produced in 2020. It’s really fun to compare the two different vintages side by side and see how the weather had an impact on the finished wine. The 2022 growing season was hotter and dryer, resulting in more concentrated fruit. We had good yields and the heat and drought reduced disease pressure. The 2022 vintage is outstanding, with balanced wines showing excellent fruit intensity and supple tannin.

Some of the wines that I’m looking forward to releasing are the 2022 Teroldego, which will be a much larger release of a single varietal than we typically make, and the Canted County Reserva Tempranillo 2020 which will be released in the fall. This wine is already phenomenal. I recommend buying a few extra bottles of it and holding on to some of them to compare it to the 2020 Gran Reserva Tempranillo that we will release in three years. We just bottled the Gran Reserva this month and it will require three years of bottle aging. It’s the same wine, but with an additional year in the barrel, and more time in the bottle. It tastes awesome. I’m excited about tasting these two wines side-by-side and think it will be really fun for everyone to see what a difference a year in the barrel can make! 

Time Posted: Mar 24, 2023 at 7:30 AM Permalink to Employee Spotlight: Head Winemaker, Joanna Wilczoch Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
February 27, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

Pedernales Cellars Incorporates Sustainable Practices

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword at Pedernales Cellars. Our team members, including our winemaker and co-owner David Kuhlken, winemaker Joanna Wilczoch, Vineyard Manager Evan McKibben, and I have long discussed the best ways to make our wines and run our winery in the most sustainable way. We appreciate that valuing resources means implementing measures to protect them, both now in in the long run.

Evan McKibben with new vines

Winemaking is labor-intensive. To be a sustainable business, we must take care of our team. Winemaking is agriculture. Being good stewards of the land is essential to our long-term viability. Winemaking requires the use of natural resources. We are leveraging a variety of tools to minimize our impact on the environment.

Here we share our most recent sustainability statement, to provide some insights on what we are already doing and what we are committed to doing in our business practices to continue moving toward more sustainability.

Pedernales Cellars Sustainability Statement

We are focused on growing and operating our business prioritizing the economic, community, and environmental principles of sustainability across all departments and activities.

Employment and Community

  • Fair wages
  • Professional development and education support
  • Family support such as paid maternity and paternity leave
  • Health insurance for full-time staff
  • Leadership in trade associations
  • Donations and support to organizations in local and winegrowing community


  • Minimization and elimination of synthetic herbicides and pesticides in operation
  • Natural grass cover for soil preservation
  • Supply organic waste material to local farms for reuse
  • Organic compost program for the estate vineyard
  • 100% recycling for on-site recyclable materials
  • Reduce non-recyclable waste material, including minimizing consumer packaging waste
  • Use 100% Texas fruit supporting local growers

Julies hands with grapes in them

Energy and Water

  • 26 tons of Geothermal cooling for production operation
  • Rainwater collection to support operational water usage
  • Underground barrel cellar for natural temperature and humidity control

Our rainwater collection tank on the vineyard

Long-Term Goals

  • 25% On-site Energy Production
  • 50% On-site Rainwater/Grey-water Sourcing
  • Eliminate all synthetic herbicides and foliar pesticides

We are constantly evaluating our winemaking and business practices in order to maintain and improve our standards of sustainability wherever possible. We take care to learn how our business practices will have the most positive impact to avoid the depletion of natural resources and build up our community and land.

We love to discuss sustainability! Ask about it next time you visit our winery. You may book a tasting online or stop by during business hours to buy a bottle to enjoy on the lawn. Becoming a Wine Club Member is another wonderful way to show your support and enjoy great wines!


Time Posted: Feb 27, 2023 at 7:40 AM Permalink to Pedernales Cellars Incorporates Sustainable Practices Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
January 31, 2023 | Julie Kuhlken

Valentine’s Gift Guide: Expressing Love Languages with Wine

Giving gifts for Valentine’s Day has become a traditional way to celebrate our love. People have different ways of expressing and receiving love. We get that. To make things easier for you, here are some Valentine’s gift ideas that fit with the five “love languages.”

Pedernales Cellars 2021 Over the Moon Rose

Spend “Quality Time” with 2021 Sparkling Vermentino

If your Valentine’s love language is quality time, they feel the most adored when you want to spend time with them. Our newly released Sparkling Vermentino is a fantastic choice to enjoy while hanging out with your partner. Bubbly conversations will flow while you sip this wine. While away the hours savoring the aromas of brioche, lemons, white flowers, and pineapple. Our Sparkling Vermentino is dry with flavors of peach and pear, with a hint of crushed rock minerality in the finish. Pair it with fresh oysters to lengthen your quality time together.  

Perform “Acts of Services” with 2021 Over the Moon Rosé

If your partner’s love language is acts of service, they love it when you go out of your way to make their life easier. It's things like bringing them a lovely glass of rosé that will bring them happiness. Our Over the Moon Rosé is always a good choice for Valentine’s Day because it is inspired by my parents’ love story. Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken met while working for NASA on the Apollo 11 mission and have been together ever since. You can be over the moon in love with this softer style of rosé with delicate aromas and flavors of peach, apricot, pear and rose petals. The palate matches the nose of this medium-bodied wine, with a creamy texture and long finish.

Give the “Gift” of 2017 Malbec  

This seems like a pretty straightforward love language to cover in a Valentine’s Day gift guide. People whose love language is receiving gifts like to be given something that is both physical and meaningful. Our 2017 Malbec fits the bill beautifully. It’s juicy and soft with lovely black cherry, blackberry cobbler, and kirsch notes with hints of cocoa, graphite, and coffee. Consider gifting three bottles so you can enjoy one for Valentine’s Day dinner, one next weekend, and one for the cellar.

Indulge in “Physical Touch” with 2013 Kuhlken-Österberg

Cozy cuddling, holding hands, nuzzling, and kissing are ways people who express their love language with physical touch love language feel loved and appreciated. Physical touch can be incredibly nurturing. Snuggle time calls for a special wine. Cuddle up with the second vintage of our allocated KO wine made with estate-grown fruit. The 2013 KO is a gorgeous wine with aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberry jam, black cherries and hints of spice, along with mouth-filling red fruit flavors complemented by black pepper and a long finish. Only 83 cases of this wine were made and we have a very limited number of bottles left.

Express “Words of Affirmation” with Texas Ruby

People whose love language is words of affirmation value verbal acknowledgments of affection, including frequent "I love you's." This Valentine’s Day, share plenty of compliments, and words of appreciation such as, “I love you so much when you pour me a glass of Pedernales Cellars Texas Ruby.” Or, “Your kisses are as sweet as a sip of Texas Ruby.” You can’t go wrong with pairing a glass of our Texas Ruby and your sweetie for dessert.

Enjoy Valentine's Day with Us!

Join us on Sunday, February 12th to taste each of these five Love Language wines at our Valentine's Pairing. We are excited to celebrate love and friendship by combining our passion for exceptional wine with the beautiful Pedernales views. We are hosting an elevated pairing experience with 100% Texas wines and decadent pairings. Afterward we invite you to purchase wine by the bottle and join us out on the lawn to enjoy the view!

Tasting Menu

  • 2021 Sparkling Vermentino
  • 2021 Over The Moon Rosé paired with White Chocolate Strawberry
  • 2017 Malbec paired with Aged White Cheddar
  • 2013 Kuhlken-Österberg paired with Candied Bacon with Smoked Gouda
  • Texas Ruby Port paired with Dark Chocolate Mousse

Limited seating will be available. Book your reservations online.

We’re glad to be a part of your Valentine’s Day celebration. 

Time Posted: Jan 31, 2023 at 3:20 PM Permalink to Valentine’s Gift Guide: Expressing Love Languages with Wine Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
December 21, 2022 | Julie Kuhlken

Pedernales Cellars Last Minute Gift Recommendations

If you are like me, you have put off a significant portion of your holiday shopping until this week. You might call me a procrastinator. I mean, I didn’t even get a birthmark until I was 10.

Here are four great last-minute gift recommendations for the people on your holiday list.

2019 Vintner’s Reserve for Your Favorite Aunt 

Pedernales Cellars 2019 Vintners ReserveShe shared nuggets of wisdom, bought you ice cream before dinner, and was the kind of confidant that only a relative can be. Your favorite aunt deserves a special gift. We created our 2019 Vintner's Reserve as a nontraditional red blend that stands out within our lineup. Our winemakers carefully selected the very best lots of Carignan, Tannat, and Mourvèdre grapes from our most trusted growers to make a wine that is both elegant today, and that will develop luxuriously over time.  

This aromatic wine will impress your favorite aunt with lots of black fruit, blueberries, plum, bramble, earth and cola on the nose. Vintner’s Reserve is a medium-bodied wine with firm tannins with a hint of spice. It is a perfect bottle to share over laughs and knowing glances and it also pairs well with pork dishes, mushroom risotto, and roasted vegetables.

2017 Gran Reserva for Your Friend the Wine Snob

Pedernales Cellars 2017 Gran ReserveWe all have a friend who knows an awful lot about wine. No ordinary bottle will do for this person, so why not give them a special bottle of 2017 Gran Reserva. Following the wine classification system of Rioja, Spain, we made our first Gran Reserva-style wine. This Tempranillo is from an exceptional that spent two years in new American oak and aged for three more years in the bottle before release. The Tempranillo grapes in this wine were sourced from our Kuhlken Estate vineyard in the Texas Hill Country and Lahey Vineyards in the Texas High Plains. Your gift to your wine snob friend is a rarity and a bit of living history. Sadly, the Tempranillo vines in Kuhlken Vineyards no longer exist, but the estate vineyard has been replanted and will soon be producing new Tempranillo fruit.

Our 2017 Gran Reserva will satisfy the most discerning Rioja lover with its rich notes of dried red currants, aged leather, eucalyptus, and bramble. It is a lighter-bodied wine with fine tannins and lively acidity, which makes it an excellent accompaniment to cheeses, roast pork, and lamb.

2018 Cuvee 1853 for the Historian  

Pedernales Cellars Cuvee 1853Cuvee 1853 commemorates the first year our Kuhlken family ancestors migrated to Texas. Cuvee 1853 is a new blend to Pedernales Cellars. Celebrating family history calls for a beautiful blend that will impress those who appreciate the art of the perfect food and wine pairing. Historians who enjoy the complexities of intertwined timelines will appreciate the complexity of the 2018 Cuvee 1853 made with intertwined grapes.

The 2018 Cuvee 1853 has a solid core of Carignan — which is one of our favorite Rhone red grapes — blended with Syrah (possibly Carignan’s soulmate) and an added smidge of Cabernet Sauvignon for body. This wine unfolds like a memoir of the joys of black cherries and blackberries, bramble, spice, coffee, and a stony minerality. It is medium-bodied with savory leather, cedar notes, and a cocoa finish that lasts for ages. Serve it while wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches.

Texas Ruby for Your Teacher

Pedernales Cellars Texas RubyTeaching is one of the most essential professions in our society. From kindergarten to grad school, the people who dedicate themselves to instilling knowledge in our youth are invaluable. Our Texas Ruby with its richness, age-worthiness, and sweetness is a suitable gift for the person who is responsible for important aspects of your child’s learning.

Our Texas Ruby port-style dessert wine is inspired by the iconic fortified wines of Portugal. The grapes for it are grown in our family Kuhlken Vineyard in the Hill Country. We grow Portuguese grape varietals in Block 2 of the vineyard which makes the base wine. Our family vineyard, in its 27th year of growing, has been the source for many of our past award-winning wines and continues to produce some of the best fruit in the state. This wine is best served with sweet stories of classroom excellence.

The Pedernales Cellars Estate Tasting Room is open through December 23rd at 3:00 pm for last-minute holiday shopping, and we reopen for normal hours on December 26 for all of your New Year’s Eve needs. We’re located in Stonewall, Texas, a short drive from Austin, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, and San Antonio. Treat yourself to a glass of wine while you pick up bottles or cases of wine to fill Santa’s sleigh.  

Time Posted: Dec 21, 2022 at 1:05 PM Permalink to Pedernales Cellars Last Minute Gift Recommendations Permalink
Julie Kuhlken
October 11, 2022 | Julie Kuhlken

Meet Ashley Gunckel, Event Coordinator

You have probably seen Ashley Gunckel around the winery. Her broad smile and happy-to-help demeanor have been a fixture at Pedernales Cellars for more than five years. She is an integral part of our team, and she is a living embodiment of our culture of making it easy for people to enjoy wine.

Ashley has helped the winery in several roles. She was first a tasting room associate, was promoted to team lead, and was recently promoted to Event Coordinator. This job is an absolutely great fit for her energy and talents.

Ashley Gunckel Rose in the Vineyard

How It Started

Ashley hasn’t always worked in the wine world. Before joining our team at Pedernales Cellars, she worked as a vet tech, groomed animals, and assisted with customer service at her mom’s veterinary clinic in Colorado.

Wanderlust and a yearning for a change of scenery led her to Texas. Soon after settling in Hye, Texas, she found out about a job opening at Pedernales Cellars. She was immediately thrilled by the possibility of working at a winery.

“After the interview, I didn’t even make it out of the driveway before they called and offered me the job,” says Ashley. “We just clicked. I love working with people, and my friendly, outgoing personality was a good fit for the team at Pedernales.”

There was a bit of a learning curve for Ashley when she started the job.

She recalls, “On my first day working on my own in the tasting room as an associate, someone purchased a bottle of wine at the end of their tasting. I was shy and a little bit nervous during the whole tasting. When I pulled the bottle out to serve it to them, it slipped out of my hands and shattered on the floor. I was mortified. Thankfully everyone started laughing, and my manager was very understanding.”

How It's Going

“I don’t think I’ll ever leave the wine industry,” says Ashley. “I’m glad I get to work at a place where I genuinely love every wine we make. The vibe is great. The people are great. There are so many really interesting and smart people here. We love to hang out after work too. That is the best part about work here.”

Ashley’s love for people extends beyond her work family. She loves working with our guests and gets a rush from her role planning events that our members like to attend. One key to her success is that she avidly attends events as well and gleans the best of what she experiences at concerts, hosted dinners, and other winery events to add to her library of ideas for incredible events at Pedernales Cellars.

“I like to bring the best of what I experience to my job,” she says. “I want people to have a great time. I have met people from all over the world and get to hear their stories. It is satisfying to plan and execute events that entertain these fascinating people, and they also walk away learning something. Education is core to everything we do in the tasting room and our events. We want people to continually learn new and interesting things about wine to help deepen their appreciation and love for it. At the same time, we want to make sure people have a lot of fun. For wine club events, we want to express our gratitude for our members and make them feel special.”

Ashley doesn’t go it alone. She has a knack for open communication and teamwork. She gathers input and builds consensus to make sure the team is involved in a great outcome. She values the opinions of tasting room associates who are meeting with customers every day and uses that input to make sure our events are as fun and engaging as possible.

That collaborative approach made it easy for her to make the transition from being a tasting room associate to being a manager of the same people that she used to work alongside.

“We have had a really, really good team of seasoned professionals. Our personal relationships and the supportive environment have made the transition easy and rewarding.”

Harley at Christmas

What Keeps Her Going

The wine business — beyond what is inside the bottle — energizes Ashley. She is fascinated by the growing process in the vineyard, how wine is made, the chemistry behind it, and the art.

“One of the things I learned when I first started that was mind-blowing is that really good wine starts with really good grapes in the vineyard. No matter how good the winemaker is, you must have good fruit. It starts in the vines. I visit the vineyards as often as possible. I’ve helped with planting new vines, helped with harvest, and led tours of the vineyard. I get to cool continuously learn about the vineyard.”  

Ashley has always been interested in chemistry and science, going back to even before her days working at the vet clinic. To pursue that passion in the wine industry, she has assisted as a “cellar rat” to help make the wine. In so doing, she has been able to shadow our winemaker, Joanna Wilczoch, in the lab and learn about all of the aspects that go into the wine.

Ashley’s Favorite Wines

“The wine at Pedernales Cellars is exceptional. I love our rosé. I could literally drink our rosé all day. I am also a huge fan of our Tempranillo Reserve. Those are my two go-to wines. I exclusively drink Texas wine. There are a lot of great wines made in Texas, so when I’m not drinking our wine, it is from one of our neighbors.”

Want to drink like Ashley? You can order her favorite wines online or pick them up at the tasting room. Try our 2021 Over the Moon Rose and the 2019 Texas Tempranillo Reserve.

Join Ashley at Our Next Events

“I love introducing people to Texas wine and letting them experience how great it is. I want everyone to feel welcome at Pedernales Cellars events. Wine events aren’t always prim and proper. They can be super casual and fun. It's all about enjoying excellent wine, delicious food, and just enjoying the scene. You don’t have to be a serious wine expert to have a great time at our events. I can’t wait for people to come to our next few events.

Fall Feast Vintner’s Dinner is our most popular dinner of the year. It is held after hours on the patio hosted by an owner. Our featured chef prepares special dishes and presents each course paired with our wines. It is coming up on Saturday, October 29, starting at 5:00 PM.

The KO Wine Club Pick-Up Party will be held on Sunday, October 30. This is only for members who have joined this allocation club. It is definitely an elevated pairing experience, so dress up.

The Tempranillo Tasting Room Take-Over on Sunday, December 11 is going to be a blast. We will have an all-Tempranillo tasting flight with a vertical of older Tempranillos from the Library, in addition to our current release, the 2019 Reserve Tempranillo.

Our Winter 2022 Wine Club Pick-Up Party will be held on Sunday, December 4. The winter party is typically our most relaxed club event, and I look forward to it every year. It has a chill vibe and people come in a festive holiday mood. It is a great time to stock up for holiday parties.”

Time Posted: Oct 11, 2022 at 11:45 AM Permalink to Meet Ashley Gunckel, Event Coordinator Permalink