We never imagined we would join the growing number of wineries and vineyards emerging throughout Texas. Upon reflection, however, we realized that my backround in business and real estate and Barbra's career as a successful artist do compellingly meld the characteristics necessary to imagine, build and operate a winery. Look at us now with a winery, Cicada Cellars in Stonewal, TX!
Our intention is to build our business slowly and deliberately so as to allow us to focus on bringing you the best and most creative wines possible at a reasonable price. Our "model" revolves around flexibility and (only to a slightly lesser degree) fun.
Not having the responsibility (and risks) of vineyard ownership we are able to source a large variety of grapes from the finest Texas and California growers. We are not at the mercy of the weather (too much rain, not enough rain, rain at the wrong time, hail, freezes, etc.), soil conditions or diseases and can focus solely on creating the best wine from the best grapes. I know, that's kind of what everyone says (can EVERYONE really have the finest grapes?) so we place special emphasis on "grower relations" in an effort to get the best.
Fun, now there's a concept that customers can understand. Wine-making is a serious enterprise but that doesn't mean it can't also be fun. We truly enjoy mixing, matching and combining the huge variety of grapes that are available to us (with more varieties being planted all the time). There are, of course, tried and true blends that, because they work so well, we simply try to improve upon (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot) but then there are the "ah-ha moments" when you stumble across a blend that practically screams "bottle me"! We've seen first-hand how much people enjoy discovering "new" wines and we know an OMG moment when we see it!
We’ve opened our tastng room in Stonewall in the former VFD station we recently remodeled. Our plan is for a casual, comfortable space with room for fun and games like ping-pong, washers, darts and the occasional board game.
Granted, it will take us some time to get there as (a) we're taking it slowly, (b) we're being fiscally conservative and (most importantly) (c) we are committed to being parents first and can't allow our weekends (especially) to be committed to the point we can't enjoy our kids events, games, etc., etc. Our youngest is currently a high school senior so...
I am a fourth generation Austinite and Barb is an Oklahoma transplant who has lived in Texas longer than she lived in OK (hold the "OU Sucks" jokes please). We moved to Fredericksburg 17 years ago in search of a simpler life and an environment well-suited to rasie our family. Admittedly, we miss Austin every single day but we know we made the right call.
Like most folks, we've always done whatever we needed to do to provide a comforatble life for our kids and ourselves. As an accomplished and self-employed faux-finisher and feature film set painter in Austin Barbra worked films with industry icons and Academy Award winners including Clint Eastwood, Henry Bumstead, Angela Bassett, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Johnny Depp and Robert Duvall. Her experiences inspired her to set skills towards the creation of a successful home accessories manufacturing enterprise while I continued to pursue real esate sales and investing here in the Hill Country.
As the kids grew so did the demand for Barbra's works so when presented with an opportunity to sell that business, we did. We have been truly blessed that Barb has been able to focus all her energies into being a full-time Mom for our two sons, Edward and Ethan. I continued building my business and relationships (actually, Barb is the social one!) to the point where we had an opportunity to become a silent investor in a start-up winery a few years ago. Observing and participating in the resulting (and phenomenal) growth eventually got us thinking, hey, "we can do that". Ok, while we're not doing exactly "that" we are "doing wine".
We are not experienced collectors nor are our palates especially discerning. We are not sommeliers. Mind you, we can twirl and sniff, spit and rinse with the best of them but, like most, can't tell you much more than "we like it"!. Frankly, I'm a bit envious of an ability to suss out black pepper, cherry, blackberries, smoke, tobacco, citrus, etc. as can a trained expert.
All we can promise is creativity, fair pricing, good wines and fun.
Ripe grapes on the vine at a local vineyard just before the recent harvest...