Steven and Pamela Yoder planted Vingo Vineyards next to their home in Dalhart in North Texas. While much of their fruit is sold to winemakers around the state, a small amount is held for their own label, Yoder Cellars. The historic post office built downtown in 1934 now houses their tasting room. It’s a perfect stop for Texans driving to Colorado to escape the heat this summer. Get to know a little of the story of the Yoders and their vineyard.
- What did you do before growing grapes (if anything)?
Steven came from a farming family and grew up farming his whole life. We moved from Ohio to Dallam County, Texas in 1982 to start farming on our own.
- When did you first plant your vineyard, and how many acres did you start with?
We started with five acres in 2015.
- How many acres do you have today, and what grapes are planted?
We now have 31 acres of grapes: Grüner Veltliner, Roussanne, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot.
- Do you farm any other crops? And if so, what?
Yes, we also grow corn, wheat, rye, soybeans, sorghum-sudan grass, and milo. In the past, we’ve also grown sunflowers, pinto beans, and alfalfa.
- What first attracted you to growing grapes?
Our son’s degree is Aeronautical Science. After college, he worked for a military contractor. When he found the love of his life, he decided to return to the farm because he wanted to raise his family in a rural environment like he was raised. With the water situation, we wanted to raise a crop that could sustain our family farm for future generations. We chose to grow grapes. Our son and daughter-in-law both attended the Texas Tech Viticulture program.
- What is the toughest challenge about being a grape grower in Texas?
- If you didn’t grow grapes, what would you do?
Framing is a lifestyle you never leave.
- After a long day in the vineyard, what do you like to do?
We love cooking together and enjoying a glass of wine made from 100% Texas grapes.
- What’s the best part about being a grape grower?
Being part of the Texas wine family. It’s a fabulous group of people.
- What advice would you give someone wanting to start a vineyard today?
Research. Research. Research. Plus, be prepared for a lot of manual labor.
- Anything else you would like to add?
Texas is such a large state, so we are able to grow so many different varieties of grapes. We Texans are a proud group, and we strive to make the best of anything we put our hands to…so look for wines with 100% Texas grapes. You’ll be glad you did!