It's harvest time for grape growers across the Texas Hill Country.
"This was certainly a bumper crop this year,” Jay Knepp with Salt Lick Cellars said. “We keep getting bigger and bigger, and that is where we want to be headed."
The 50 acres next to The Salt Lick will turn into about 160,000 bottles of wine. It's a venture the restaurant started in 2003.
"We have come a long way in 12 years from planting our first vines, to getting some of our grapes in a bottle, to being able to sit around and pour them and talk about them, to having them on some store shelves,” Knepp said.
Dave Reilly with the Duchman Family Winery says it’s always a learning process.
“As soon as you think you know everything, you realize you don't know anything,” he said.
Reilly bottles the wine for Salt Lick Cellars. He says he could not have asked for better weather this year.
"Fortunately for this industry, the rains kind of slowed down into the growing season,” Reilly said.
When it comes time to harvest, timing is everything. One extra day on the vine could cause the grapes to over-ripen.
Salt Lick Cellars’ grape varieties are originally from Europe but have adapted to handle the soils and climates of the Texas Hill Country.
"It's a different place with a different climate,” Reilly said. “We are making wines that are getting better and better every year."
If it's been a few years since you've tasted Texas Wine, Reilly encourages you to give it another try. He says growers have spent the last few years refining their products and many of them can go head to head with their European cousins.
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