This is been one of the most active of recent years for my blog at VintageTexas.com. At its start back in the summer 2007, my only goal was to develop the blog as a writing workshop, practicing chapter length essays that would allow me to explore topics, reader’s interests, and become one of the early leaders of the new world of Texas wine blogs and social media.
After publication my first Texas wine book, The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine, and my second book, Texas Hill Country Wineries, I really did not know what my path forward was for VintageTexas blog. The blog and the books, brought me acclaim with two Media Awards from the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, but after that the blog became a mix of new items, rants, and tasting notes but without a mission or structure.
Very early in 2022, I came up with an idea… Write blogs that combined travel with winery visits and guided tastings. It became punctuated with historical notes particularly on uncommon grape varieties now found in Texas, and travel notes. My guiding light was to offer information and educated insights that Texas wine consumers could use if they were planning a winery visit or a wine purchase from a winery’s online store. After this bit of focusing, VintageTexas, rocketed back up in accesses and page views near what it was in its earlier years.
With this as a prologue, please enjoy the following references and links to my most popular blog in 2022. Please note, not all of these blogs were posted in 2022. In some cases, they are over 5 or 10 years old, but continue to bring interested readers into the online portal called VintageTexas.
1. Slate Theory Winery & Vineyards: The Code Revealed
My visit started with a glass of Slate Theory Roussanne. With my mind in tasting mode, I thought… ‘a pleasant herbal lemon drop note’ as I descended down a stairway into Slate Theory’s recently completed cellar. Sweet Jesus, have I just said cellar… what I meant was CELLAR in all caps. The cellar goes down two stories and extends under the winery and took over three years to dig into the hill country limestone. Click here for more.
2. ReRooted 210: Urban Winery Planting Roots in Central San Antonio both Corporately and Personally
Jennifer Beckmann has been around the Texas Hill Country for some time gaining experience and insights with every new opportunity she’s been presented. But, there is one thought that has been on her mind for some time now. After many years of traveling and pulling up roots to move somewhere new, what’s been on her mind is planting roots. Jennifer wanted a permanent winery location of her own creation, especially an urban winery creation. She found it in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Click here for more.
3. My Favorite Texas Wines in 2022
Even though this blog is only a day or two old, it rocketed up near the top of the most popular blog list. The Malbec from Bending Branch Winery tops off my 2022 list for its overall drinkability and enjoyment. I’ve had the pleasure to keep my bottle unopened and sampling it five times using my Coravin, 3 or 4 ounces in each pour this year. I keep coming back to it expecting is not to be a good as my previous encounter, but it continues to please. Click here to see my picks of my top 2022 wines.
4. New Specialist of Texas Wine Certification Class Scheduled for Mid-September this Year… Sign up now! See added News Flash on Level 2 STW Certification.
This blog is a reflection of the increasing interest in my Texas Wine Specialist certification courses that in 2023 will include an advanced course. Over the past seven years, each year found increasing numbers of students. When Zoom came along, it expanded access to my classes all around the state; and now we have certified students in Colorado, Louisiana, and even California. Specialist of Texas Wine is a first-of-its-kind program that offers a comprehensive series of classes featuring the unique wines and wine regions of Texas. Never before has there been a wine program with classes focused solely on Texas, taught like other major wine producing regions around the world. It is offered through the Texas Wine School in Houston, an accredited source for wine industry certification (WSET) and many regional certifications. Click here for more Level 1 course information.
5. Texas Black Spanish – The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir: Regional Character, International Reputation
This blog continues to amaze me. It was originally posted in 2008, but annually it has made my top ten list of most popular blogs. Black Spanish actually has many names that go back over a hundred and fifty years back into history: Jacques, Jaquez, or Jack, as well as El Paso, Lenoir and Black Spanish. The credentials of Texas Black Spanish were established in the mid-1860’s when its vines were introduced by the into Southern France. It was found to furnish an excellent, Phylloxera-resistant grape cultivar and rootstock onto which the classic French grape vines could be grafted. Click here for more.
6. News Flash: Spring 2023 Specialist of Texas Wine Certification Courses Scheduled and Include a New Advanced Certification Course!
This is very recent blog about my popular Specialist of Texas Wine Certification Course, this time talking about the Level 1 and advanced courses planned for February and April 2023, respectively. Click here for more information and 2023 registration. The Specialist of Texas Wine certification course is a first-of-its-kind program, receiving unmatched participation from both educated consumers and Texas wine industry representatives, with a comprehensive series of classes featuring the unique wines and wine regions of Texas. Join the 200 students that have already become certified.
7. Kerrville Hills Winery Opens Second Tasting Room, The Hill at Hye
Kerrville Hills Winery has opened its second tasting room, “The Hill at Hye,” that offers the same award-winning wines as are served in the Kerrville Hills Winery tasting room, but with a different tasting experience. The original tasting room offers classic tastings and the opportunity for guests to see where the wines are produced, as well as a view of the town of Kerrville from up on the hill, while The Hill at Hye is dedicated to seated tastings by appointment. Click here for more.
8. Robert Clay Vineyards: Great wines come from those that have mastered the skill of patience
I first met Dan McLaughlin, the man many of us now call ”Winegrower Dan”, in the dead of winter at a gathering in Mason County in 2014. As I recall, I was enamored with his silvering chin whiskers, which became my inspiration to grow them, too. Immediately thereafter, I was drawn into his intense almost dreamlike passion for resurrecting the grapevines in nearby Robert Clay Vineyards. The vineyard was originally planted in 1996 by Paul and Nancy Buist, naming it after their 2 sons, Robert and Clay. The Buist’s ran the vineyard for 16 years before Dan and his wife Jeanie McLaughlin arrived in early 2012. Click here for more.
9. Hill Country Tasting Stop #4 – Pontotoc Vineyard Albariño
Since inception, Pontotoc Vineyard has been a bastion of red wines, 100 percent Texas-grown, with a strong Spanish and Iberian influence, However, in 2017, Carl began to cultivate and interest a white wine made from Texas-grown Albariño grapes whose heritage comes from Basque Spain, also called “Green Spain” because of its proximity in the moist and green Atlantic Ocean of Spain. I received a bottle of a 2020 Pontotoc Vineyard, Enchanted Rock Albariño. It is an award winner, for sure, 100% Estate grown at Enchanted Rock Vineyards, Gillespie County, Texas. Click here for more.
10. East Texas Tasting Stop: The Domain of Kiepersol Serves the Soul in Many Ways
With the tenacity and cleverness of early farmers, augmented with the tools and treatments of modern-day agricultural technology, Texans are developing a fresh, new definition for the word terroir in places like Kiepersol. The bottle of wine says it all: “Grown, Produced, and Bottled by Kiepersol Estates Vineyards, Tyler, Texas.” The Kiepersol Estate is really something quite unique in East Texas (no not just East Texas but in all Texas) worthy of both your attention and your presence. It is calling you. Set your sights on The Grand Room at Kiepersol, 21556-B Merlot Lane, Tyler, TX 75703. Click here for more.
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I hope you enjoyed this 2022 recap. Please make it a point to check back regularly to get my Texas wine reflections, insights and reviews. Don’t pass up the opportunity to sign up for my Spring 2023 Specialist of Texas Wine Courses.