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!
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!
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!
Kelli (and Dave) Potter