Wayne Milberger is the winemaker and co-owner of Kerrville Hills Winery. Kerrville Hills is located just south of Fredericksburg and makes for an easy drive to visit the beautiful tasting room. We asked Wayne Milberger about his background and philosophy of winemaking.
What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I grew and sold turfgrass for lawns, athletic fields, and golf courses. I also invested in land.
What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
Finding Texas grapes; managing a growing business in a booming market.
Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
Definitely both. The grapes know what to do. I just provide the proper environment and a place to let it happen. The art is in choosing the yeast and other additives to enhance fruit expression and tannic structure as well as selecting barrels to enhance the wine.
What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
Merlot and Chocolate; or Port and Parmesan Cheese
If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
Spend more time with my grandchildren and on the farm.
What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
It started as a curiosity in the 1970’s. I knew nothing so I started 5-gallon batches from a home wine kit. I made a bunch of bad batches and a few that were good.
What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
“How did you get into winemaking?”, “Do you have any barrels for sale?”
After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
Enjoy a nice meal and a movie.
What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
Spending time with customers and seeing them enjoy the wines.
What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
My initial plan was to make what I like to drink: bold red varietals. I’ve adapted to include sweet wine drinkers and started doing some blending. I put lots of effort into selecting barrels that will positively influence the wine’s character.
Anything else you would like to add?
I think it is very important to be patient when making wine. I give the wine enough time in the barrel and in the bottle before offering it for sale.