The Coming of Age of Texas Wines

by Steve Bennett

When David Kuhlken’s parents, Larry and Jeanine, retired to a sweet patch of land north of Fredericksburg in the early ’90s, they decided to plant a few acres of vines and harvest grapes. 

“They planted the grapes to make the wine that people wanted to buy, and what people were drinking then was Cabs and Merlots and Sauvignon Blancs,” said Kuhlken, who gets a bad-acid flashback look on his face when the conversation turns to “oaky, buttery” Chardonnays.

To make a complicated story simple — and everything about winemaking is complex — Texas tried to be California.

Fast-forwarding about 30 years, Kuhlken is the winemaker and co-owner with his sister Julie of Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall, one of more than 80 small to middling wineries in the Texas Hill Country that is making some lip-smacking wines with bountiful depth and character — robust reds, crisp whites, and bright rosés.

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