Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Becker Vineyards

In the early 1990s Richard and Bunny Becker were looking for a cabin with some property, as they liked to come to Hill Country when they had time. They enjoyed going to antique shops, and attending the wine tasting events held at the local wineries. They found the cabin they wanted on some property in Stonewall, which is just outside Fredericksburg.
Before long the Beckers began thinking how they had always successfully gardened, and decided to try their hand at growing grapes. They loved the vineyards that they had seen when touring France. With the expertise of a manager to guide them; Richard, Bunny, their two boys, and the manger got to work planting grape seedlings. Grape plants take three years to produce fruit. The Beckers had their first harvest in 1995, and produced 8,000 bottles of wine.
By 1996 they added this beautiful 19th century German stone barn reproduction for their tasting room!
As you walk in you'll see this canvas painting shaped to the building roof line, and for a few moments you'll think the barrels are real! The angle of the photo doesn't do justice to the impact of the painting, as one opens the door.
This is the entry room filled with things to buy. The Beckers also grow Lavender and produce many products with the scent of Lavender.  The arched doorway goes into a large tasting room.
This is the wine tasting room, and through the arched doors to the back is the wine production area.
Here is our tour guide telling us about wine production. Wine typically stays in the stainless steel vats for 6 months. Reserve wines are aged two years. Wine is transferred between vats to clarify it.
This is the separator. It acts like a big colander removing the hulls, stems, and leaves from the juice. The leftover sludge is returned to the ground.
This is the barrel room. Our tour guide was telling us that air is the enemy when producing wine, but that when you open the bottle it becomes its friend. She explained that it was like the wine was ready to spread its legs for a good time! I heard at least one woman in the group gasp, and I know I was bit taken back by the analogy. Although I'm pretty sure she meant to say the wine was ready to stretch its legs and have a good time, I've chuckled until I've had tears in my eyes many times thinking of her saying it the way she did!
This is the bottling area. The machinery bottles, corks, and labels 55 bottles per minute!!!  Becker Vineyards produced 88,000 bottles of wine in 2011 and expect to surpass 100,000 this year!
This building was added in 2003 for holding receptions. Becker Vineyards has become popular, as a location for weddings.
I enjoyed seeing these grapevine balls hanging from a tree by the reception hall. This picture is looking from the reception hall across the property to the winery building.
The event that enticed us to visit the winery, besides its beauty, was an event called, The Grape Stomp. If you chose to, you could stomp some grapes in the small half barrels provided, and then transfer your grape stained foot prints to the back of a Becker Vineyards tee shirt. I loved the look of the shirts, but opted not to get one.
We enjoyed a beautiful sunny day in pleasant surroundings learning a little bit and watching the world go by!