Hill Country vineyards expect 2016 harvest to be best crop in years

Limestone in ground one reason grapes grow so well in Texas

By Erica Hernandez - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - During the spring, San Antonio was hit with a few hail storms, but the hill country was mostly spared. That was a plus for vineyards, including the Kuhlken Vineyard, which produces the grapes used for the wines at Pedernales Cellars and Armadillo's Leap.

"To not have had any hail is just golden," Pedernales Cellars owner Julie Kuhlken said. "It's very hard to grow the grapes because there all this damage, you have to nurse the grape plants through."

At the vineyards, the rows of vines are filled with grapes that are ready to be harvested. The grapes at Kuhlken Vineyard are used in one of the best wines in Texas, the Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo. The Tempranillo has won gold medals in Texas and in California.

"My parents, growing for those first ten years before we founded Pedernales Cellars, we obviously learned a great deal about what works," Kuhlken said.

When visiting the winery, you can try six to seven of the different variety of wines in the tasting room, which is open seven days a week.

The grapes used in the varieties like the Tempranillo do especially well in the Hill Country, and that is why the area has become a great place to grow.

"We have a climate that favors the Mediterranean and, if you look at the soil there is a lot of limestone," Kuhlken said. "It (limestone) is very good and good drainage for the grapes."

At Pedernales Cellars and their sister winery, Armadillo's Leap, this August you can participate in a grape stomp every Friday through Sunday. Also the Kuhlken Vineyard takes volunteers for grape picking. For more information you can visit their website, www.pedernalescellars.com or www.armadillosleap.com

Copyright 2016 by KSAT - All rights reserved.