From the very start of our relationship, Kevin and I loved tasting and learning about wine. Several date nights involved visiting wineries, trying new wines, and learning to pair wine with food. Then in 2013, two important things happened: I went back to college, and we started making wine. Having quit college in my early twenties to raise children, I had always hoped to one day go back and finish my degree. With Kevin’s encouragement, I enrolled at UNT and began taking classes. Then for Christmas that same year, Kevin surprised me with a home winemaking kit and a box of Chardonnay juice that would eventually become a Silver Medal winning wine….but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Kevin and I were both managing our kids, careers, and my class schedule pretty well. But after struggling way too hard to pull a “B” out of my Statistics class, only to discover that I would have to take an Advanced Statistics class the next year, I began to look for a different major. Goals are important, but life is short. In my search, I came across the Viticulture & Enology Degree Program at Grayson College. I had no idea something like this was offered in Texas. When I found out that classes were offered on weekends and online and wouldn’t interfere with my work schedule, I became very excited. Kevin encouraged me to enroll in the program, so I did. Over the next two years, I spent many weekends up in Denison learning everything I could about growing grapes and making wine. There were field trips to wine production facilities, grape-growing and pruning workshops in the Texas High Plains, and lots of scary pictures of bugs and fungi that like to destroy grapes! When I’d get home on Sunday evenings, Kevin was always eager to hear about my class discoveries. It was in these classes that I met students who either wanted to become winemakers, wanted to grow a vineyard, or who were already doing one or both of those things. Several of my classmates had working wineries right here in East Texas! Initially, I was just there to earn my degree in a field of study that was interesting to me. No Advanced Statistics with Excel classes required. But then I had an idea. What if Kevin and I could find some land to plant a vineyard and open a winery? I know. It was crazy.
I was totally shocked when Kevin said that he was on board with the idea. Pretty soon he began to capture the vision as well. We spent the next year looking at many, many properties. From the Oklahoma border, east toward Texarkana, south as far as Hillsboro, and west nearly to Abilene. We feel like God brought us to the perfect spot right here in Silver Lake – smack dab in the middle of Mineola and Grand Saline. After the water and soil tests came back favorable for growing grapes, we closed on our property in July of 2016 and have been working hard ever since. We were so excited when our Chardonnay (the one we bottled in 2014 from Kevin’s Christmas Chardonnay wine kit) took a Silver Medal at the 2016 Texas Non-Commercial Wine Competition! We have a lot more work to do as we continue to increase the size of our vineyard and finish the build-out of our wine production and tasting rooms. We hope you’ll join us on this exciting journey. Here’s to crazy ideas, big dreams, and delicious Texas Wine!