Rock & Vine

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  • Wine and lifestyle magazine of the Texas Hill Country

    ROCK Vine&Wine and lifestyle magazine of the Texas Hill Country


    FAMILYThe oldest winery on the Highway 290 corridor is also one of its top draws

    Whistle Piks artists draw from global inspiration


    Fischer & Wieser promote Fredericksburg Flavors.

    Local food and Texas wines on the menu at Cabernet Grill

  • THE CALENDARROCK Vine&Wine and lifestyle magazine of the Texas Hill Country


    MARCH3/1/14Noon-6 p.m. Texas Independence Day Celebration chili cook-off with live music by Lonnie Lett at Pedernales Cellars, 2916 Upper Albert Rd, Stonewall. Call the tasting room at 830-644-2037 for more information.

    3/15/1411:30-1 p.m. Soup Saturday at Dry Comal Creek Vineyard and Winery, 1741 Herbelin Rd., New Braunfels. Call 830-885-4076 for more information.

    3/22/146-10 p.m. Larry Joe Taylor Concert and Dinner at William Chris Winery in Hye. Call the Tasting Room at 830-998-7654 for more information.

    3/29/1410 a.m.-6 p.m. 3rd Annual Blues, Bluebonnets, and BBQ and a Wild Hog Cook-Off will be featured at Becker Vineyards, 464 Becker Farms Rd.,

    Stonewall. Bring your own seating. Call 830-644-2681 for more information.

    APRIL4/25-26/145th Annual Hill Country Wine and Music Festival at Wildseed Farms, 100 Legacy Dr, Fredericksburg. Call 830-998-2144 for more information about Wildseed Farms Market Center.

    MAY4/30/14 - 5/4/14Fifth Annual Hill Country Film Festival, more than 50 independent films plus filmmaker Q&As, discussions and parties. Visit for more infor-mation.

    5/3-4/1410 a.m.-6 p.m. Annual Lavender Festival, live music on the veranda and food vendors featured at Becker Vineyards, 464 Becker Farms Rd., Stonewall. Call 830-644-2681 for more information.

    5/23-25/14Fredericksburg Crawfish Festival at Marktplatz in Fredericksburg. Visit for more information.

    UPCOMING WINE EVENTS and Hill Country Happenings

  • Editors notE

    We are happy to introduce Rock & Vine Magazine to wine enthusiasts in the Hill Country and beyond. Our aim with this new publication is to capture the dy-namic growth, quality and flavors of the burgeon-ing Texas Hill Country wine scene, and augment it with plenty of content about our singular area and its many treasures. This issue provides an example of the type of content you will see. Our future issues will include more on art galleries, B&Bs, unique retail businesses, chefs, restaurants and local artists all the things that make the Hill Country a creative, laid-back locale that stimulates all the senses. Wine is a fascinat-ing object of our affection. Sippers can enjoy it casually with friends, and those who want to know more about it have so many facets from which to pur-sue their knowledge. I always like reading wine columns in the The Wall Street Journal and other publications, though I am still in the novice stage of my wine knowledge. I also have made a country boys mis-take of ordering another cup of that wine at an establishment. I will bring it to you in a glass, was the humorous waiters reply. I am stunned by the recent growth of the industry in this area, yet grateful for the dedica-tion and investment which has taken place here. No less than Wine Enthusiast Magazine, the top read among oenophiles, named the Hill Country a top 10 wine destination. And we think more growth is on the way with the addition of the Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts and study opportunities from Texas Tech University-Fredericksburg. We would love to know what you think about our foray.

    Ken Esten CookeEditor & [email protected]

    Rock & Vine Magazine features the best of the Texas Hill Country wine industry, as well as lifestyle, attractions, history, char-

    acters and thinkers.

    A product of Fredericksburg Publishing Company, Inc.

    ROCK Vine&

    Wine and lifestyle magazine

    Color palette

    of the Texas Hill Country

    Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a

    greater range for enjoyment and apprecia-tion than, possibly, any other purely sensory

    thing. Ernest Hemingway

    Wine and lifestyle magazine of the Texas Hill Country

    Publisher/EditorKen Esten Cooke

    Contributing writersChristine Granados

    Barbara ElmoreMatthew Este

    Kristen TownsendMegan WillomeAshley Thomas

    ProofreaderSherrie Geistweidt

    Advertising ManagerKim Jung

    Advertising SalesAnn DueckerLorrie Hess

    Rock & Vine Magazine712 W. Main St.P.O. Box 1639

    Fredericksburg, TX 78624

    Rock & Vine will publish again in June and October, 2014. To advertise, call our staff at the number below.

    Advertising information830-997-2155

    Subscription information$15 for one year


  • ROCK Vine&Wine and lifestyle magazine of the Texas Hill Country


    All in theFAMILY

    Fresh off a double gold in a prestigious contest,


    owners Brian and Jennifer Heath are finding the balance

    between quality and quantity.

    Photos by Cynthia Lively.

  • ROCK Vine&Wine and lifestyle magazine of the Texas Hill Country


    By Christine Granados | Photos by Cynthia Lively

    Grape Creeks grounds mix a bit of Tuscany with the Texas Hill Country.

    Before Brian Heath became owner of Grape Creek Vineyards or even decided he wanted to get into the wine making business, he had a glass of the best caber-net shiraz he had ever tasted at the Cottage Caf in Fredericksburg (where West End Pizza now stands). The red wine was forgotten after several unfruitful online searches for another bottle of the tasty cab. He did find his favorite wine a year later in the most unlikely and serendipitous of places. As fate would have it, Heath traded in the fast-paced life as a senior vice president of a Fortune 500 company based in Minneapolis and New York for a slower and more manageable one in Fredericksburg when he bought Grape Creek from Ned Simes heirs in 2006. I had kind of been looking into the wine indus-try for three or four years. I like wine but for some reason the business was really attractive to me, Heath said. One thing I like about it is the con-nection between agriculture and manufacturing and customer service and retail. Heath said he likes the vertical nature of own-ing a winery. Vertical defines the business process where a company takes something from a raw state until it ends up in the hands of a consumer without a middleman. In the wine business its pretty much all you, he said. We tend to be very specific about the wine that we make. Grape Creeks winemaker Jason Englert has brought his precise and structured way of making wines to the Hill Country. Englert, who graduated from Texas Tech University with a biology degree, said he stumbled into the Grape Creek job by acci-

    dent. My wife and I had gone to my brother-in-laws wedding in San Antonio and we stopped by Grape Creek on our way home, Englert said. Ned Simes had just passed away a week earlier. I had the opportunity to speak to Neds son about the future of the winery. Within a couple of weeks, I was commuting from Lubbock to help with the 2004 harvest. At the time, Englert was working under his mentor Greg Bruni at Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock. Bruni, a third-generation winemaker, had over 30 years of winemaking experience in California before coming to Texas. Englert began his career running Llanos lab. Englert spent eight years with Llano, learning the trade and moving up to became cellar master and assistant winemaker. Although Englert had no idea what he wanted to do after graduating from TTU, under Brunis gui-dence his passion for wine making grew. Grape Creek had a consultant for many years prior to my arrival. Once Brian felt comfortable with me, the consultant was taken off retainer, he said. Familiar with the challenges Texas weather and geography grape growers encounter, Englerts focus has been on Bordeaux-style wines. However, the winery is incorporating more and more Italian wines into its inventory with good results. The winery has been recognized with medals and best of class distinctions from California to New York under Englerts watchful care. For us, our goal is all about quality and making fresh wines consistently from year to year, Englert said.

  • Serendipity

    It was Englerts vigilance toward wine makings that unknowingly drew Heath to the vintner and made them one of the most successful pairings along the Highway 290 corridor. Im talking to Jason one day in his office and across his laptop he had a screen saver, Heath said. It said,

    Quivis wines. Jason said, Ive done my own label for a couple of years. Its named after my sonsQuin and Davis. What he didnt know was that the best Texas red I ever had was his cab shiraz, Heath said. So I knew things were going to be okay. Hes done a great job as our wine maker. Englert laughed off Heaths prophetic story. He said, I dont know if it was fate or what but thats the same story he told me. I havent made that label in some time because weve been so busy. Englert has presided over phenom-enal growth. The winery has gone from 1,500 square foot building with six tanks to a 10,000 square foot building with 35 tanks. Grape Creek has built a

    barn, warehouse and renovated the bar-rel and tank rooms, warehouse, cellar, bed and breakfast, and the Georgetown location. Weve had construction projects pretty much nonstop for five to six years, Heath said. Starting with the renovation of the tasting room. It w