OLM Fall Issue 2012

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    FOODISSUE

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    S T E I N E R R A N C H t C R Y S T A L F A L L S t F A L C O N H E A D W E S T

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    SWING. SERVE. SWIM.

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    Te Secret to the Hill Countrys Wine SuccessBy iany YoungWhile not as well known or its wine as say, Napa Valleyor uscany, the exas Hill Country is quickly becomingwell-recognized or its wineries.Te region is still relatively new in the industry, buthas already begun receiving accolades. In 2007 Orb-itz named the exas Hill Country the second astest-growing wine destination in the U.S., and in 2010 away.com listed it as the No. 1 op en Hidden-Gem WineRegions.ourism and Going LocalAt least some o the Hill Countrys wine success can becontributed to exas Hills Vineyard, located just outside

    Johnson City in the Pedernales River Valley.exas Hills Vineyard owner Gary Gilstrap said he andhis wie Kathy started the exas Wine rails the sameday they opened their tasting room in 1999. Te trailnow includes about 30 wineries to really whet a trav-elers appetite.Te Wine and Food Foundation o exasa nonprotlocated in Westlake and ormed by ounders o theexas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, has also

    helped spread the word about exas wineries. It ac-complishes this through annual Rare and Fine WineAuctions, which bring in collectors rom near and ar.Its Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship helps the causeas well, while at the same time giving back to the exasood industry when scholarship recipients practice theirculinary vocation throughout the state.Another advantage or the Hill Country is its closeproximity to cities and their many residents who cantwait to purchase wine and oods locally.

    William Chris Vineyards Chris Brundrett said about99 percent o the vineyards business is done locallyeither through selling in the metro areas or with localtourists who visit the tasting room.Te Hill Country is not only a great place to growgrapes, but its close to where people can access thewine, Brundrett said. Were 25 minutes rom Austin,which is really convenient.

    And many Austin restaurants stock wines rom localvineyards. Bottles rom William Chris Vineyards can beound at Keniche, Wink or Jack Allens Kitchen.Gilstrap also attributes exas Hills Vineyards successto using only exas ruits and exans large appetite orwine.Weve got exas in our name. We committed to justusing exas ruits, and exans are pretty loyal, GaryGilstrap said. I the wine is good, that makes it easier.

    Why it worksBut just because theres a market or wine, doesnt meana place can grow good grapes.What makes the Hill Country wines so drinkable?

    Our soil here is exactly what uscanys is. It doesntget as cool here at night, but otherwise conditions aresimilar, Gilstrap said. Our avor prole is quite nice,actually. We have a wide range o wines now.Brundrett agrees that the weather and soil is whatmakes the Hill Country wines enjoyable to drink.Te Hill Country is a wonderul place to grow grapes,Brundrett said. We have a lot o decomposed granite.

    We have a lot o warmer weather grapes that work outreally well. Teres not a lot o rain and we ofen avoidrost.

    Sidebarexas Hills VineyardGary and Kathy Gilstrap took their 20 years experi-ence running a pharmacy and applied it to making and

    distributing wine.Applying their detail-oriented proession o pharma-

    ceuticals into developing wine concoctions have paido. Te vineyard now boasts the second largest produc-tion o wine in the Hill Country and fh in the state,producing 18,000 cases per year.Te exas Hills Vineyard tasting room stands unique inthat there is a wide variety o humorous gifs and localoods or purchase. Also, theres a good chance Gilstraphimsel will be pouring wines and entertaining guests