There are large wineries in Texas along with smaller wineries. A lot of people enjoy visiting smaller wineries as they are more personable, and you get to meet the owners and winemakers. Gadela Winery in Spring, TX is one of those smaller wineries. Every time we have visited, co-owner and winemaker Franco Knoepffler has been there and it’s been a joy getting to know him. It’s a pleasure having Franco Knoepffler as this month’s featured winemaker profile!
- What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I used to be a professional in the telecommunications industry until I was guided into a full-time position as winemaker.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
The most challenging part of being a winemaker in Texas is not making wine since I enjoy it with passion, the challenge is keeping up with so much reporting, taxes, licenses, permits, regulations, and the list goes on and on and on.
- Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
Both. You need to have the passion for it and have the knowledge about many details in the winemaking processes. Just one mistake and you may end up ruining a batch and with a big loss.
- What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
I discovered at lunch with a friend where I brought a sweet strong red and the host had prepared chicken with mole, that spicy foods have the gift of waking up taste buds so intensely and numbs the sweet perception, making the sweet red more bold and less sweet. I was very surprised. Just my experience. Again, everyone’s palate is very different and the experience may be different. For the reader, please try it for yourself.
- If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
I would probably make deep strong chocolate beers. I did it before and love it.
- What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
My granddad used to make wine and my father passed along that passion of wines to our generation. I have been making wine for 21 years. I still have one bottle from my first batch in 2002.
- What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
How did it all start? Hahaha, and the story begins to flow every time. I just love what I do.
- After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
I love spending time with my lovely wife, and we would love one day to visit the old world.
- What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
I think making wine is a lot of fun, seeing how nature takes care of most of the wine process, then the involvement in managing all the other stages, but above all, “It is about sharing and enjoying it with others.”
- What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
Wines have a lot of magic, if you may call it that way. It brings joy, laughter, peace, happiness, etc. I think that the love I may put into winemaking can also pass to others, not just the “alcohol in it.” It is the sharing part that makes it very unique since human beings were created to be in community and being happy. A happy body and mind are always a healthy body and mind.
- Anything else you would like to add?
Remember that after all, it’s not about the wine, It’s about the winemaker…The first Miracle of Jesus in Cana. “Gospel of John”