When we decided to start making wine on a commercial scale, essentially becoming an official licensed winery, a lot of our friends would ask... "so where is your vineyard?". That's a fair question. After all, what is a winery without grapes? (you'd be surprised).
The fact is that vineyards and wineries are two different, and mostly independent endeavors. Though they are both essential in the production of wine made from grapes, in many cases, they don't coexist on the same property. The definition of a vineyard is pretty straight forward. It's where grapes are grown. There are many wonderful vineyards in the state growing amazing grapes, but they don't necessarily produce wine there. These grape growers produce grapes for the wine industry, selling them to wineries for their production. These folks are the bedrock of the industry. For without quality fruit, you cannot make quality wine. And in Texas, we're making quality wine.
A winery on the other hand is the place where wine is made. Grapes are brought into the winery where they are crushed, destemmed, fermented, pressed, aged and ultimately bottled by the winemakers. This is a process that takes at least many months, and more commonly years to achieve. And this is where we at Whisper Path Cellars have chosen to focus.... in the winemaking.
Don't get me wrong, we would love to grow grapes along side of our winemaking, and eventually, we will. But we had to consider the time it takes to build a vineyard, which in most cases is 5 years from the time you order your vines to the point where you have viable grapes for wine. Plus the time to make the wine, which is another 1 - 2+ years. (Consider that kind of commitment the next time you drink a quality estate wine). That's an awfully long time.
Our approach begins and ends with the wine. Though making wine is something we've done for a long time, we've only done it commercially since 2017. With two vintages under our belt, we bottled most of the 2017 vintage during the 4th quarter of this past year. We entered our first international wine competition in January, and came away with a bronze medal for our High Plains Monastrell. Not bad considering its age and that only a small number of reds from 2017 won any awards at all. And we're excited about what's next. The 2017's will continue to get better as they age, and the 2018's are showing even more promise.
Since the zoning of our winery location does not allow for alcohol consumption, we will utilize wine shops, tasting rooms, and restaurants in various locations around the state. We've just begun this process and are pleased to announce the first two locations where our wines can be purchased... Blue Star Provisions in the Southtown area of San Antonio, and at Los Olivos Markets in Wimberley (Texas hill country). Stay tuned to our website for more locations to be announced soon.
So we at Whisper Path Cellars will continue to make award winning wines, on a very small scale, and in a very unusual location. (I'll discuss that in more detail on my next post). We will also continue utilizing grapes from some of the most amazing vineyards and grape growers in the state. At some point, we hope to grow grapes as well. But for now, we'll just say that our vineyard is Texas...100%.
Until next time....Salud!
Jesse G Villarreal