No Winery in Marfa. Nothing Here in Marfa But The Luz
This morning I stopped by Luz de Estrella Winery in Marfa,Texas, after several weeks of unsuccessful emailing and calling. On arrival, another for sale sign at the property gate greeted us. The area was noticeably different than that at the vineyard sights around Blue and Delores Mountains near Fort Davis. White limestone-rich desert soil surrounded us in Marfa versus the red-brown, volcanic soils in the vineyards around Fort Davis to the north.
The vines in the vineyard at Luz de Estrella (www.luzdeestrella.com), while still alive, were starting to show neglect getting a bit gangly with shoots deflecting in all directions and from unwanted locations down on their trunks. I hope somebody attends to this vineyard and soon, before it succumbs to the perils of the Chihuahuan Desert. Hopefully, someone will find and secure this property and keep these grapes in play, perhaps for a new winery owner or for wines from another Texas winery.
What’s left here in Marfa….well, the Marfa Lights! We stopped by the viewing area just east of the Marfa city limits. I can definitely say that they are still here; seen them with my own eyes. I don’t really understand what they are, perhaps they are car lights in the mountains or people with lanterns paid by the Marfa Chamber of Commerce. Laugh! Laugh!
Actually, sighting of lights in this area go back to the mid-1800s . The unexpected lights alarmed the cowboys, who thought the Apaches were on the move, and they quickly doused their own campfires. But they determined to investigate the area in the daylight. After spending an uncomfortable night huddled under blankets for warmth on the cold desert floor, dawn found them on horseback, combing the area for any signs of an Indian encampment. They found none.
You can get more history and theories on the Marfa Lights than I can muster at:
But, I did find this Spaceman Helmet at the Marfa Lights viewing sight. If anyone has any information on the status of this winery or vineyard, please contact me or post a comment on this blog.
I know of the business of the Luz de Estrella Winery and am just letting you know that the winery is closed forever and the specifics you do not want to know. The questionable and often disgusting behavior by both of the former owners has led to it’s closure and I just want to express the fact that these people were wannabe ranchers from Houston and I don’t want their reputations to tarnish this great area.
Unfortunately, I have seen that many people do not understand the amount of effort and hard labor that vineyard and winery operations require. It appears glamorous at first and then reality sets in. My recommendation for people that want to get into the business is to start small, make your mistakes on the small scale, learn from the experience of others, and then scale it up. The modern businessed of grape growing and operating a winery are still a new to Texas. The modern commercial industry was only started in the late 1970’s and only recently is receiving technical and marketing support from specialists in the state. Some times, recommendations from out of state consultants (based on experience gained in California, Oregon or Washington) has proved to be wrong for Texas.
Thanks for your comments. The Big Bend area (including Balmorea, Fort Davis, Alpine and Marathon) has a lot to offer and contains a rustic beauty that definitely warrants (and requires) more than one visit.
No doubt the work of growing and creating fine wine vineyard, is a demanding and difficult. But then once you understand the normal rate of advanced work, success will not be late to arrive.
You shouldn’t take your college age son to the Marfa Lights viewing sight with a laser pointer. We didnt see any UFO’s but a lot of other folks did!!! He had’um running for their cars.
Neal Newsom Winegropwer Plains Tx