Pedernales Cellars: Living a Dream

Five important questions to ask oneself before embarking on a dream, according to Kidando.Net:

  • Do you constantly think about your dream?
  • Do you know more about your passion than the average person?
  • Do you have an idea of what it will take to accomplish your goal?
  • Do you believe it is possible to achieve your dream?
  • Are you scared to embark on your journey?

I was recently contacted by some friends who wanted to share an announcement. They have purchased 260 acres of land in the Texas High Plains in which they plan to plant vineyards. The announcement was followed by a “gulp” on their end and a desire to get together, drink some wine, and exchange ideas on the Texas wine industry as they embark to pursue a dream.

“To embark on the journey towards your goals and dreams requires bravery. To remain on that path requires courage. The bridge that merges the two is commitment.” ~ Steve Maraboli

As luck would have it, a couple of weeks before hearing from our friends I received my first ever media samples from Pedernales Cellars. If our friends are going to embark on the dream of producing Texas wines, then I most certainly want to share with them what I believe represents some of the finest wine crafted in Texas. Although Pedernales is not a new winery in Texas, they began much like our friends, with a dream and a leap of faith.

The dream of Pedernales Cellars began in the early 1990’s, when Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken planted their first vineyard near Fredricksburg. The determination and trial and error the vineyard began producing consistently high quality fruit. In 2005, Kuhlken Vineyards became a family affair and Pedernales Cellars was born. Son David is head winemaker, daughter Julie is in charge of marketing and design, Julie’s husband Fredrik Osterberg is president and oversees logistics, and Heather is a freelance photographer, providing many of the photos in the tasting room.

A Family Affair

The name, Pedernales, ties the family and winery to the history and geography of the region. Geographically the Pedernales River runs through the Texas Hill Country where the winery, cellar, and tasting room is located. Pedernales also means “flint” in Spanish, providing a historical connection to the land where Native Americans use to call home. The inspiration for the name came when David found an old flint arrowhead in the vineyard and Fredrik found part of an old flint stone ax at the winery site.

Pedernales takes their ties to the land and history seriously through utilizing sustainable practices. In the winery natural insulation of limestone and Hill Country soil are used to naturally control heat and humidity. The cellars and case storage facilities use geothermal cooling systems to cut energy use by half. In the vineyards water usage is minimized by ground cover management and seek to control pests by encouraging natural species predators such a using Purple Martin birds to control insects. Furthermore, compost from the winery is recycled back into the vineyards. Pedernales seeks to reduce and recycle cardboard waste, while the winery uses CFL and solar lighting. Finally, to be good stewards of the land, the removal of cedar over-growth and invasive plant species around the winery, seeps and springs that were previously lost have been re-established, creating a better habitat for the wildlife on the property.

Pedernales makes Texas wines using Texas grapes sourced from five Texas vineyards: the Kuhlken, Stout, and Parr vineyards are located in the Texas Hill Country; Newsom Vineyards is located in west Texas; and Bingham Family Vineyards and Farm and Reddy Vineyards are located in the Texas High Plains.

Pedernales Cellars is committed to crafting world class Texas wines. This has meant identifying the grape varietals that thrive in Texas terroir. Winemaker David Kuhlken is committed to letting the character of the grapes suited to the Texas climate and soil express themselves in the journey from vineyard to bottle.  The result is world class wines with Texas accents.  

2016 Pedernales Cellars Texas Diva Texas USA ($20): A blend of Viognier, Muscat, and Pinot Grigio; pale lemon in the glass, almost transparent; medium+ inviting aromas of sweet alyssum, lychee, ripe peaches, pineapples, mangos, and papayas; off-dry with balanced medium acidity, bright and refreshing with a slightly creamy mouth-feel, tart citrus finish, an ideal wine for hot summer day to pair with food or just sip; delivers on every level

2016 Pedernales Cellars Dry Rose Texas USA ($30): Provence style crafted of mainly Grenache, with Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Syrah in the mix; pale pink with salmon hues in the glass; medium+ bright summer aromas of strawberries, peaches, orange cream, watermelon, and jasmine; medium acidity, tart citrus zest on the palate that follows through to the finish; another really crisp and refreshing wine great for summer foods and sipping

2015 Pedernales Cellars Texas Rousanne Texas USA ($20): Medium yellow in the glass; medium+ aromas of ripe orchard fruit, lemon zest, summer melon, and a hint of nutmeg and vanilla; rich and creamy on the palate with medium acidity, medium body, and a long finish, perfect for summer vegetable dishes, pasta, poultry, and salads

2015 Pedernales Cellars Texas Hill Country Tempranillo USA ($40): Deep ruby in the glass; medium+ aromas of blackberries, cherries, black raspberries, pomegranates, black pepper, touch of roasted espresso, sweet baking spice, vanilla, and forest floor; rich and elegant, yet lighter than in previous years, balanced with medium acidity and tannins, palate also balanced with fruit on entry and earthiness on finish; really nice wine for bbq, steak, TexMex, or just sipping

Pairing Texas wine is quite easy because it goes with everything, and is an ideal summer choice. Steak, bbq, burgers, ribs, anything you can smoke or grill is a perfect combination with Texas wine. I am a huge TexMex fan, so I decided to serve these four delicious wines to our friends with Roasted Chile Verde Chicken Enchiladas along with Corn, Tomato, and Basil Salad. Enchiladas never go out of season, add a room temperature summer salad and great Pedernales wines and we are assured a delicious dinner and fun evening learning about our friends’ Texas wine journey.

It was such a joy to be able to share some of Texas’ highest quality wines and the dream realized by Pedernales Cellars with our friends as their dream is slowly coming to fruition.


5 responses to “Pedernales Cellars: Living a Dream”

  1. It is fascinating that they use Hill Country soil for insulation. I’m curious about that. And how incredible that they’ve fostered a Purple Martin colony. I love the way this family thinks and the wine sounds top-notch.

    Yummy pairing as always. Thanks Michelle!

  2. Michelle, will you share your recipes with Pedernales for an upcoming Tasty Tuesday Pairing post?

    • Sure Vickie. Both recipes are from the latest edition of Cooking Light Magazine. Would you like me to email you links & photos? All I ask is that you give credit. Thanks for asking.

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