Randy Hester Winemaker – From Texas and Back Again

Randy and Brooke Hester

I met Randy and Brooke Hester last year at Newsom Grape Day. We talked briefly and I learned they were native Texans but currently living in California while making wines there with the name Lightning Wines. However, they would soon be moving back to Texas and had some ideas on what they wanted to do when that time came. I heard from Randy earlier this year when Edible Marin & Wine Country had a post on winemakers who were in California [Read More...]

Meet the Oswalds: The Family behind Oswald Vineyard

Dina-Marie and John Oswald

The Oswald Vineyard is located in Brownfield, Texas, in Terry County of the High Plains. The Oswald Vineyard is owned by John and Dina-Marie Oswald. They may not have the largest vineyard in the area, but they have one of the most unique and interesting stories among Texas growers. Other growers I have talked to have called the Oswald’s story a story of grit and determination, and a family who has sacrificed more than most growers have ever thought about [Read More...]

Touring High Plains Vineyards and “That’s a Lot of Vines!”

Wind Machine

Visiting the High Plains requires visiting some of the top vineyards in the state of Texas. With the number of High Plains vineyards, it is very tough to visit all, so I planned with Bill and Gail Day of Buena Suerte Vineyards on which vineyards to visit. Of course, the first vineyard to visit was Buena Suerte Vineyards. We started our vineyard tour on Thursday, May 8th, over three weeks after a major frost occurred on April 15. Many vineyards tried different methods [Read More...]

CapRock Winery – Revisited

CapRock Winery

It had been a couple years since I last visited CapRock Winery and a lot has changed since then. The biggest thing was the sale of the winery to Gary Sowder and Matt Hess, owners of Florida’s Vineyard Agent, early in 2013. As I learned when I recently visited, things have changed even more. Gary Sowder is now sole owner of CapRock Winery and it’s now a family run operation. At the initial purchase, it was announced that Napa Valley’s [Read More...]

Llano Estacado Winery – Revisited

Barrel tasting with Jason Centanni

It seems every time Llano Estacado Winery has been in Houston to do wine tastings at our nearest HEB supermarket, local Houstonian Bill Freidhof, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, was present along with Assistant Winemaker Jason Centanni. Jason has also been present in our past #TXwine Twitter Tuesday tastings when Llano wine was included. Last year after one Twitter Tuesday, he tweeted me to let him know when I would be in Lubbock next time and we would do [Read More...]

Texas Custom Wine Works – Revisited

Texas Custom Wine Works

When in the High Plains, I visited a different kind of winery which was Texas Custom Wine Works (TCWW). They are not technically just a winery because they can do anything a customer wants in the wine industry. They are a custom processing facility in Brownfield which produces wine and other products. Besides making wine, storing wine, helping with wine problems, and other things on the enology side, TCWW can also help with providing grapes, vineyard advice, etc. on the [Read More...]

McPherson Cellars – Revisited

McPherson Cellars

I went to Newsom Grape Day this year and since I was in the Lubbock area, I took advantage of visiting most of the Lubbock area wineries again to see what was new. First stop was McPherson Cellars which always has a good tasting. I was told Kim McPherson was in the back bottling wine. That was nice to hear he was there because every time I have visited McPherson Cellars, he and his wife Sylvia who owns neighboring La [Read More...]

Update on Pheasant Ridge Winery

Pheasant Ridge Winery

In December of 2013, Bingham Family Vineyards completed their purchase of Pheasant Ridge Winery. They announced the original Pheasant Ridge founder and winegrower, Bobby Cox, would be involved heavily in the winery. By the title of winegrower, he would be responsible for making wine but also for the growth of the Pheasant Ridge vineyard. I asked Bobby Cox on the status of the progress of the winery. Bobby said they are still getting the winery in shape for how the [Read More...]

2014 Newsom Grape Day


The 2014 edition of Newsom Grape Day was held in the usual location, the “barnery” at Newsom Vineyards. For those who do not know what a barnery is, Neal Newsom said since his mother has a barn, he couldn’t call his a barn and since it’s not a winery, they called it the barnery. It’s the building where the storage equipment for Newsom Vineyards is stored and also doubles as an event center for events like Grape Day. The morning [Read More...]

2014 High Plains Winegrowers Wine and Music Fest

High Plains Wine & Music Festival

The early part of May is going to be a great time in the High Plains. If you are attending Newsom Grape Day and the Tempranillo Conference on May 9th in Plains, TX, the next day you can enjoy the 2nd Annual Wine and Music Fest on May 10th in Levelland, TX sponsored by the High Plains Winegrowers.