Pedernales Cellars

Pedernales Cellars is located in Stonewall and is owned by the Kuhlken and Osterberg families. In 1994 Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken planted the vineyard and in 2008 the winery’s tasting room was opened. The two co-founders of Pedernales Cellars are David Kuhlken and brother-in-law Fredrik Osterberg. David Kuhlken is also the winemaker while Larry and Jeanine oversee the vineyards.

Pedernales - outsidePedernales Cellars is named after the Pedernales River that flows through the Texas Hill Country and is pronounced “Per-Den-Al-Es”. The signature wine for Pedernales Cellars is Tempranillo.

We have visited Pedernales Cellars a few times as it makes a nice stop heading into Fredericksburg along Highway 290. The last time I was there I was fortunate to meet David Kuhlken.

Pedernales - David

David Kuhlken

During my last visit, Laina guided me during my tasting. The bottles use corks and you stand at a tasting bar to do a tasting. In fact when we have visited, there were always two tasting bars, a big one to the right which we have used and a smaller one to the left. Since my last visit, they enlarged the left side of the tasting room and thus enlarged the left tasting bar making it the main tasting bar now. As Fredrik Osterberg told me, “We do have two tasting bars now in the tasting room just as before. The difference is that the smaller second bar has been replaced with a much larger bar, which has become the ‘main’ bar. This was in response to overcrowding. We have also gone from one restroom to six. My mindset has been to remove any kind of obstacle to the tasting experience. I would like customers to be able to focus on the wines and the winemaking process as opposed to being distracted by having to wait in line for their tasting. The customer feedback has been very positive to these changes.”

Pedernales - larger tasting bar

New tasting bar

There is a tasting fee for nine wines and the tasting fee includes the wine glass. The wines are poured using a measured pourer. Crackers are provided to cleanse your palate.

I had really hoped to try their award winning 2009 Reserve Tempranillo which was also one of VintageTexas’s Top Ten Texas Wines of 2011. Unfortunately I was told they were sold out and the stores in Fredericksburg probably didn’t have any either. Oh well, they did have their regular Tempranillo which was promised to be almost as good, which it was, but it still would have been nice to try or buy the Reserve.

Pedernales Cellars uses 100% Texas grapes in their Texas wine sold in the tasting room. In distribution some fruit is from out of state such as New Mexico or California. Today Pedernales Cellars has 17 acres of vines growing such varieties as Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, Touriga Nacionale, Merlot, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. All pruning and harvesting is done by hand. 6,000 cases of Texas wine is produced a year.

On the 146 acres for Pedernales Cellars, the winery boasts the largest underground barrel cellar in Texas which was completed in 2008. The 4,000 square foot production facility is located underground and insulted by the limestone and cooled by a geothermal underwater system to keep the cellar at an ideal temperature year round. In May of 2010 phase two was completed creating the second story on the winery.

Pedernales - smaller tasting bar

Previous “main” tasting bar

Public cellar tours are available at regular hours during the weekends. The second time we visited though, I treated Gloria to a private tasting and guided tour which lasts one hour. The private tasting was held in a separate room in the tasting room and included food especially designed for pairing with the wines. After the tasting we had a tour of the large underground cellar and production facility. The production facility was impressive being cut into the side of a hill and mostly underground. Both French and American oak barrels are used and we learned new barrels are used for the Reserve brand. Even though the private tasting was a little expensive, it was nice to be treated as VIP’s.

Pedernales Cellars has a gift shop with deli food, cheese, olive oil, wine accessories, and clothing. Special events such as live music are held on the patio. A wine club exists with many benefits including the option to select the wines you want for your shipment.

Pedernales Cellars is on the Texas Hill Country wine trail and the Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 wine trail.

Thanks to Denise Clarke for the new tasting bar photo


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