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Monthly Archives: October 2015

A Word about Wine Clubs

Do you wine club?? I know we do and if you are anything like us, you may have fallen into this trap. Here’s what we’ve gotten just for the month of September in our clubs… I’m not even sure this is all of that one month…

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You see we belong to a few winery clubs – at last count I believe its 7. Yes, you read that right – 7!

And here’s the issue I have. I love our membership in all of them, but every time I go visit a winery, either a new one with really good wines and plenty of selection, or an old friend with wines we have long since favorited, we just can’t seem to pass up the option to benefit from “the club”. But now its gotten much harder because the budget tells me in months like September where 5 of the 7 clubs are shipping at once, that we are tapped out for joining any more. I’m sure you know this feeling. I want the wine, I am happy to pay for it, but I just can’t afford to join every single one that I love because it blows the whole months budget when they all converge like this.

We finally had to resort to “rotating” wine clubs, which to us means that we join for a couple of shipments and stock up on what we like using our member discounts, and then quit to join the next club on the list and repeat the cycle. I know you understand ’cause you all are doing this too – right? Right!?!  And now this is getting even more difficult to pull off because some clubs we joined are limited to the number of members they can have. Whether its a smaller winery with production vs demand issues or even a larger one with similar dilemmas, now some clubs are just can’t quite quit – we benefit more from staying in. Plus some clubs have such great member benefits that we enjoy that we just don’t want to leave. Hmmmm…what’s a wineaux to do?

Soooo here we are – seven clubs later and trying to figure out how to join a new one, without adding more strain to the pocketbook in a heavy club month. And I know you want to know so here’s the list of the clubs we are currently in, in alphabetical order so you don’t think I’m playing favorites.  🙂

4.0 Cellars; Blue Ostrich Winery & Vineyard; Eden Hill Winery & Vineyard; Landon Winery; Lost Draw Cellars; Messina Hof Winery; William Chris Vineyards

Lately we’ve been talking about how to squeeze in Kuhlman Cellars and Spicewood Vineyards. We really enjoy the wines, and our friends there, but aren’t quite sure how to manage another one. If you figure out a good answer, PLEASE share!  In the meantime we are obviously going to enjoy the “fruits” of the wine industry labor for the next month. Five of the 7 wineries shipped in September and the other two are ready to pick up now.

And pick up events I suppose are part of the allure to us for the wineries in our area. The last one I attended was the inaugural wine club event for Eden Hill Winery & Vineyard. We have really enjoyed getting to know Clark, Linda, and Chris Hornbaker over the last year, especially working with them so much this summer, and were happy to have an opportunity to join their new wine club. Because of their current production, they decided to start small with a limited number of members. Thankfully we acted fast! The first event was NOT disappointing. We began with a vertical Tempranillo tasting in the estate vineyard coupled with a talk about the wines and the Tempranillo harvest comparisons as they played out in the wines from 2012, 2013, and 2014. Then we had an opportunity for four more tastings inside of the current month’s club offerings all pairs with the exquisite food that Linda created. O.M.G. was it wonderful! The evening topped off with a Kir Royále made with their sparkling Roussanne called Temptation. I imagine each of the remaining three wine club events over the year will be equally as amazing and we’ve already crossed this one off the “rotating” list since we won’t want to leave any time soon.

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I hope your September was a “fruitful” as ours. Not because I wish the financial strain we’ve chosen on you, but because there are so many wonderful wines in our club selections. I think the best answer for us would be if everyone would team up and offer joint winery clubs, sort of like 4.0 Cellars, so that we could get even more great wineries in our selection. If you aren’t familiar with the 4.0 Cellars concept, they are located on Hwy 290 in the Johnson City to Fredricksburg corridor and are a partnership tasting room experience with 3 stellar wineries: Lost Oak Winery, McPherson Cellers, and Brennan Vineyards. This means we get 3 memberships for the price of 1! Each wine club month we benefit from a selection of wines included from each of the three individual wineries and also at least one wine made as a 4.0 Cellars wine. We also get some reciprocal benefits at the winery location local to our area, Lost Oak, making this club membership one of the best benefits for us. Perhaps if we could just get those great wine makers in the HYE, TX area to do a combined club we might be able to squeeze in one more, especially if I knew I could get Kuhlman, Lewis, Compass Rose, Calais, and Hye Meadow all in one shipment (and Spicewood too if its not too much to ask lol). – Hint Hint fellows!  But then of course I would be trying to find room for the next one…. A girl can dream! So many great Texas wines, so little $$.

Until next post – Cheers~

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Posted by on October 9, 2015 in Wine Fun

 

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Where it all began…

Once upon a time there were two young folks, at the beginning of a relationship, looking for stuff to do on the weekend…

And that’s pretty much how this all started. Dave and I met in 2000 right as I was moving from Lewisville, TX to Austin, TX for work. Literally it was an “at first sight” relationship. Dave was delivering a package up the stairs to the apartment next door as I opened to door to carry yet another armload of stuff out of my apartment to drop off for a yard sale before moving. Our eyes met, we exchanged greetings, and a few minutes later the brown truck pulled up next to my car and we were trading email and phone numbers. That was it! We never looked back and as I moved to Austin 3 weeks later, Dave pretty much followed – at least as best he could without actually uprooting. Every weekend for the next year Dave would drive from DFW airport after work to my new place in Austin and hang out with me until having to make the long return drive on Sunday night.

As we adventured around the Austin area, we discovered the Texas wine industry. Well, actually we stumbled upon some information about the Hill Country Wine trail. Back in 2000 there weren’t many wineries and the ones that did exist, like Becker, Grape Creek, and Dry Comal Creek were still small, with quaint buildings and small, intimate tasting rooms. We spent time stomping grapes at Becker, and sometimes accidentally found a winery or two on the trail. We even tried to participate in an event weekend, making sure to take the route backwards from New Braunfels back to the F-burg area to avoid as much of the crowd. That makes me LOL a little because the crowds then are no way resembling of the crowds we see now.

At any rate a love-affair was born in those hills. Both for us and our love of Texas wine. Somewhere along the way we started a blog, or maybe it was two, about our adventures, a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, and so it exploded. Being a part of things also meant that as we spent more and more time around the wineries, we got more involved with helping out. Both Dave and I have volunteered many hours with bottling, both in small wineries with a hand bottler and by working on a line with a bottling truck. We also jump in to help with harvest, crush, labeling, serving, or whatever we can to learn and help and enjoy the whole experience. This is something all wineries appreciate – its takes all of us to make great Texas wine happen!

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At some point that I can’t recall now we also started making wine at home. It started with friends, a simple kit, and the dream of having lots more to drink. One kit led to another and before you know it we were pressing a near ton of grapes in the driveway last September to make our first at-home wine from real Texas fruit. It was a family affair and yes, its still aging in our kitchen!
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Our appreciation for wine, for the work behind the scenes, the friendships we have forged in this industry of amazing people, and our ever developing interest in doing more led us to wanting our future to be embedded right in the middle of it all. Rather than be aficionados, volunteers, and supporters from the side, we decided a couple of years ago that we wanted to be in “for real”. So we started saving, and saving, and saving. And we still are so that soon we can buy our own “dirt” as Dave likes to say, and start our own vineyard, and probably a winery too. Dave’s grandfather may be the one he credits most with his early beginnings. Grandfather Weatherly started making homemade wine for Grandmother as an alternative to “prescription” wine for her health. They were Baptists in East Texas and in those days you didn’t just go buy it for fear of the talk around town. So since Mary Elizabeth was the impetus for it all, we will be naming our vineyard for her, and you can follow us on Facebook as Mary Elizabeth Vineyards when the time comes. I’ll let you know when the moment comes!

And finally here we are, present day. Many months back, probably close to a year ago, Dave began looking for a way to learn more and get prepared. If we are going to have our own place, we need to know how to take care of it. Rather than trying to find a way to fit in a Viticulture program into our busy schedule right now, we figured he would get more from a real, hands-on experience. So he joined Crump Valley Vineyards as a weekend warrior. You can find him there most Saturdays.

And that folks is the whole story. Its long, wine-dy (lol), and a daily adventure. We hope you’ll be a part of our stories along the journey.

Until then, Cheers!

IMG_0112Kelli (and Dave) Potter

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Our Journey into the Texas Wine Industry

 

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