“Together,” as “Kalasi” means in a southern India dialect, is how Nikhila Narra Davis and Greg Davis have established a new winery – Kalasi Cellars – in northeast Fredericksburg.
The Davis’ combined Nikhila’s Texas High Plains (THP) vineyard experience with Greg’s financial and management consulting expertise to open Kalasi Cellars August 15, 2020. Their commitment to quality results in two separate wine collections sourced from the 140-acre Narra Vineyards owned by Nikhila and her family in Terry County. One acre of their 16.5-acre site on Goehmann Lane in Fredericksburg has just been planted with the Teroldego varietal native to northern Italy.
“We are very proud that we use no pesticides on our THP grapes,” Nikhila said. “And because conditions are different here in Fredericksburg, we will use our ‘baby doll’ sheep to eat the weeds while knowing that they are too short to reach the grape leaves and clusters.
“From that quality grape-growing we extend our quality practices to making Kalasi Cellars wines by aging them 18 months in neutral oak barrels and additionally in bottle before being released,” she continued.
The 1,500 cases of wine produced by Kalasi Cellars are color-labeled to go into either the Heritage Collection or the Reincarnated Collection.
The Heritage Collection honors the Narra family’s growing of crops, but not grapes, for five generations overseas. Wines labeled Heritage are more common varietals and blends, and result from more traditional winemaking techniques.
The red-labeled Heritage Collection wines that my wife Phyllis and I paid to taste as we stood at the U-shaped bar in the modernly spacious tasting room were:
- 2018 Roussanne
- 2017 Sangiovese
- 2017 Malbec
“The Reincarnation Collection represent, in the culture of India, that there is no heaven or hell,” Nikhila explained. “Being ‘reincarnated’ means coming back as a better person or, for our wines, a better version.”
Therefore, the purple-labeled Reincarnated Collection wines are rarer varietals and blends with which customers are likely not accustomed. Nikhila uses less common winemaking techniques on those wines, drawing her inspiration from having worked at Cakebread Cellars in California before starting Narra Vineyards in 2014.
The Reincarnated Collections wines we tasted were:
- 2019 Sparkling Muscat of Alexandria that had CO2 added for “sparkle”
- 2017 Carménère, a dry red wine best known in Chile
- 2017 Teroldego, an inky red wine that Nikhila says she was the first to grow and bottle in Texas
Each of the wines we tasted is also available by the glass to be enjoyed while seated on the comfortable covered front porch of the winery or to be taken home by the bottle.
Nikhila also gives credit to the approximately 25 other Texas winemakers who buy grapes from Narra Vineyards for helping her and Greg pursue their dream.
“The first generation of Texas winemakers have taught us which varietals grow best in the Texas soil and heat,” she explained. “Our generation is taking grape growing and winemaking to a different level!”
Starting and succeeding with a new winery is a challenge for any adventurous winemaker, but COVID-19 and the non-understandable regulations of the Texas Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (TABC) have immensely increased the challenges to succeed for both new and veteran wineries.
One such regulation, Greg noted, is that wine must be paired with food. To comply with that requirement, Kalasi Cellars offers a menu of snacks, entrees, and desserts that are mostly vegan and vegetarian from the kitchen hidden away in the back of the tasting room. Non-alcoholic drinks are also available.
To further enhance the quality of their customer service, the Davis’ plan to add the Sparkling Muscat of Alexandria, a Mourvèdre Rosé, a Malvasia Bianca, and non-alcoholic Indian sodas as “on tap” offerings. Stool seating along the bar next to the tasting room windows, and some inside tables and chairs are additional features planned as Kalasi Cellars grows.
“We already have a Wine Club primarily made up of family and friends,” Nikhila said, “and it is growing each week as new customers find us and experience our 100% Texas wines!”
Finding Kalasi Cellars can be easy if you turn north off of Highway 290 in eastern Fredericksburg onto Goehmann Lane (opposite the Whataburger) and go approximately one-half mile. Kalasi Cellars is on the west side of the road just past and abuts The CLUB at Baron’s Creekside property.
Together, the enjoyable wine and cultural adventure offered by Kalasi Cellars is currently open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.