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It’s harvest time in Highland Lakes as wine industry continues to pour money into local economies

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — The sweet smell of ripe Muscat blanc grapes on the vine fills the air as the sun rises at Flat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery.

Andy Doerfler, who owns Bella Vista Bed and Breakfast, located east of Marble Falls, volunteered to harvest grapes Aug. 1 at Flat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery. Doerfler said he often recommends area wineries for his guests to visit and took the time to get a first-hand perspective on the harvest. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Andy Doerfler, who owns Bella Vista Bed and Breakfast, located east of Marble Falls, volunteered to harvest grapes Aug. 1 at Flat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery. Doerfler said he often recommends area wineries for his guests to visit and took the time to get a first-hand perspective on the harvest. Staff photo by Jared Fields

It’s harvest season at the winery, located about 25 miles east of Marble Falls off RR 1431, and other vineyards in the area.

About 30 volunteers and paid help spent the morning of Aug. 1 picking 4½ tons of the grape.

The grapes go from the field to the wine-maker, who de-stems, presses, chills and ferments them until wine is ready to be bottled early next year.

“That slow fermentation preserves all the pretty aromatics in the grapes that we’ve worked so hard to get in there,” wine-maker Tim Drake said.

This year’s harvest is later than most years because of a late freeze early in the growing season.

“In a typical year, we get bud break in mid-March and harvest mid-July to August,” said Amanda Koraska, director of business operations at Flat Creek Estate. “We had a frost, lost some fruit, and it slowed down growth of the rest of the fruit.”

Despite the later harvest, Koraska said the winery still expects to produce about 8,000 cases of wine from grapes harvested on site and purchased from other growers.

From Tow to Cypress Mill and Spicewood to Burnet, the Highland Lakes are busy July and August harvesting a variety of grapes. Tourists come to the area to visit the wineries year-round, but volunteering for a morning of labor doesn’t deter them, either.

“The second most frequently asked-for wine region in the U.S. was the Texas Hill Country,” said Bill Rives, executive director of the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce. “That translates into some tourism.”

According to the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, the Texas wine and grape industry pumped $1.8 billion into the economy in 2011.

“The wineries clustered around Marble Falls are some of the best in the state, if not the Southwest,” Rives said. “Just about every one of them has won some kind of national recognition.”

Harvests and grape stomps continue in August at area wineries.

jared@thepicayune.com

BURNET

• Perissos Vineyards, 7214 Park Road 4, (512) 820-2950, www.perissosvineyards.com

CYPRESS MILL

• McReynolds Winery, 706 Shovel Mountain Road southwest of Spicewood, (830) 825-3544, www.mcreynoldswines.com

JOHNSON CITY

• Texas Hills Vineyard, 878 RR 2766, (830) 868-2321, www.texashillsvineyards.com

LAMPASAS

• Pillar Bluff Vineyards, 300 CR 111, (512) 556-4078, www.pillarbluff.com

• Texas Legato Winery, 2935, RR 1478, (512) 556-9600, www.texaslegato.com

MARBLE FALLS

• Flat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery, 24912 Singleton Bend East off RR 1431 east of Marble Falls, (512) 267-6310, www.flatcreekestate.com

ROUND MOUNTAIN

• Westcave Cellars Winery, 25711 Hamilton Pool Road, (512) 431-1403, www.westcavecellars.com

SPICEWOOD

• Spicewood Vineyards, 1419 CR 409, (830) 693-5328, www.spicewoodvineyards.com

• Stone House Vineyard, 24350 Haynie Flat Road, (512) 264-3630, www.stonehousevineyard.com

STONEWALL

• Becker Vineyards, 464 Becker Farm Road, (830) 644-2681, www.beckervineyards.com

• Pedernales Cellars, 2916 Upper Albert Road, (830) 644-2037, www.pedernalescellars.com

• Woodrose Winery, 662 Woodrose Lane, (830) 644-2539, www.woodrosewinery.com

TOW

• Fall Creek Vineyards, 1820 CR 222, (325) 379-5361, www.fcv.com

BEND

• Alamosa Wine Cellars, 677 CR 430 in San Saba County, north of Llano, (325) 628-3313, www.alamosawinecellars.com

DRIFTWOOD

• Duchman Family Winery, 13308 FM 150 West, (512) 858-1470, www.duchmanwines.com

• Driftwood Estate Winery, 4001 Elder Hill Road CR 170, (512) 858-9667, www.driftwoodvineyards.com

FREDERICKSBURG

• Bell Mountain Vineyards, 463 Bell Mountain Road, 14 miles from Fredericksburg on Texas 16 North, (830) 685-3297, www.bellmountainwine.com

• Chisholm Trail Winery, 2367 Usener Road, (830) 990-2675, www.chisolmtrailwinery.com

• Fredericksburg Winery, 247 W. Main St., (830) 990-8747, www.fbgwinery.com

• Grape Creek Vineyards, 10587 U.S. 290, (830) 644-2710, www.grapecreek.com

• Rancho Ponte Vineyard, 315 RR 1376, (830) 990-8555, www.ranchoponte.com

• Santa Maria Cellars, 12044 Texas 16 South, (830) 998-5357, www.santamariacellarswines.com

• Torre di Pietra Vineyards, 10915 U.S. 290, (830) 644-2829, www.texashillcountrywine.com

HYE

• William Chris Vineyards, 10352 U.S. 290, (830) 998-7654, www.williamchriswines.com

NEW BRAUNFELS

• Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, 1741 Herbelin Road, (830) 885-4121, www.drycomalcreek.com

SISTERDALE

• Sister Creek Vineyards, 1142 Sisterdale Road, (830) 324-6704, www.sistercreekvineyards.com

Highland Lakes wineriesFlat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery is located about 25 miles east of Marble Falls off RR 1431 on Singleton Bend East. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Highland Lakes wineriesRick Naber is the owner of Flat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Highland Lakes wineriesFreddie Warner of Austin took part in his second harvest at Flat Creek Estate Vineyard and Winery on Aug. 1. The 18 volunteers and 10 paid workers harvested 4½ tons of the Muscat blanc grape. Staff photo by Jared Fields

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