Everything is bigger in Texas, that includes the wine industry
The state of Texas has made a name for itself in the wine industry. Its grape growers boost the state’s economy by more than $13 billion dollars.
Texas has a long history of wine production. Some of the earliest recorded Texas wines were produced by Spanish missionaries in the 1650s near El Paso.
Fall Creek Vineyards in Tow was the first bonded winery in the hill country.
According to the owner, Susan Auler, “We thought it was very important to establish the hill country as an AVA... to have an identity and regionality.”
Susan Auler and her husband Ed started Fall Creek Vineyard in the ‘70s after looking to broaden the economic viability of Fall Creek Ranch.
“My husband and I were only out of UT... shortly after his father died, turned over Fall Creek Ranch for him to operate. He’s the third-generation,” she states. “He probably needed to think about some better economic development on the ranch to continue passing it on to our sons.”
The Auler took a trip to France in 1973 to look at some of the French breed of cattle for potentially crossing with their Angus herd. Susan said that she could not visit France without visiting the wine country there.
Within two years of that trip, the Aulers had put in a test plot on a corner of their ranch. They started experimenting with grape growing at the encouragement of Texas A&M and Texas Tech universities. That test plot grew from a quarter of an acre to seven and a half acres in the late 1970s.
Then Ed decided to give us his law practice, formally establishing the winery facilities in 1979. They believed this area would not only support grape growing, but it would thrive.
“The weather is quite conducive. It’s not too hot to grow grapes in Texas, especially when you consider the grapes that we grow... their heritage dates back 8-10,000 years to the Middle East. It’s a heck of a lot hotter there than in Texas, but the heat benefits us in many ways,” she explains.
At Fall Creek, they grow twelve to fifteen varieties of grapes. Sergio Cuadra is the on-site winemaker. He is originally from Chile. He has a degree in agriculture engineering. He loves the art of making wine.
He says that the high quality of Fall Creek wine starts in the vineyards.
“It has to do with the amount of grapes that we get from each plant... It has to do with the nutrition that those vineyards get during the season, and maybe the most important thing, how much water they receive during the season, especially during the end period of the growing season,” Cuadra explains.
Fall Creek has been recognized not only in the U.S. but around the world for its wine. Awards and rave reviews continue to pour in.
“We always wanted to put our wines side by side with the great wines of the world,” she adds. “We wanted to create a known region but we wanted to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best wines of the world.”
While there are some 400 wineries in Texas, they all offer selections as unique as their regions. For Fall Creek, they are proud to have been one of the first to put the Lone Star State on the wine-making map: “We never intended this to be just a project for Fall Creek Vineyards. We hoped we would grow an industry, grow a tradition...”