Friday, July 31, 2015

Milestone: Alamosa Wine Cellars Closing

There are events in time that mark the boundary between that time and this time.  Sometimes we see them in hindsight and sometimes they are obvious to everyone when they occur.  This milestone may not be obvious to everyone, so I have appointed myself to draw it to your attention.  Alamosa Wine Cellars is closing; Labor Day weekend; September 6th, last day.  You MUST go visit this winery before it closes!!!

One of the Way Out Wineries (WOW!) between Lampasas and San Saba, it is a bit of a journey and well worth it.  The owners, Jim and Karen Johnson, planted grapes here in 1996, and proceeded to change how Texans grew grapes and made wine.  They were the pioneers out on the frontier of warm climate grape growing and artisanal winemaking, literally and figuratively.

We need to compile Jim Johnson's firsts in Texas; he helped produce Becker Vineyards’ first Viognier in the early 1990s, he was the first to grow Sangiovese and the first to commercially bottle Tempranillo.  The first to plant and bottle Verdelho, and I am sure there are many more.

My fondest memory is attending a Paso Robles seminar in Austin and during the question and answer session there was this couple asking about the clone of root stock the growers were planting on.  This was a much more technical question than the sommeliers and wine pros in the room were asking.  After the seminar I went and meet Jim and Karen Johnson, needing to know who they were.  It has been a pleasure knowing them ever since; tasting their wines, selling their wines, introducing their wines to new customers, hosting wine dinner with them, attending wine dinners and festivals with them.  I am here to tell you that the Texas wine industry is in the place it is today, poised to step onto the world stage, because of the hard work and inspired vision of Jim and Karen Johnson.

If you have not been to Alamosa Wine Cellars; you must go, the clock is ticking.  Jim and Karen plan to sell every last bottle of wine in the tasting room and the property itself!!!  You do not want to miss this piece of Texas Wine history, you must see the vineyards and winery and taste the delicious wines that have a strong sense of the place they are from.  They are offering big discounts on cases and individual bottles through Sept. 6, the last day they will be open. And they also will have fun events up until then, including an intimate retrospective tasting on Aug. 8 that will showcase some of Alamosa’s best vintages over the years, “the stuff we’re most proud of,” Jim Johnson says. Get tickets for the Library Tasting here.

Alamosa Wine Cellars, 677 County Road 430, west of Bend. 325-628-3313,

Texas will go on to surpass New York and even Oregon in winemaking.  Texas wines will someday be available throughout the nation and even in other countries.  These milestones will be remarkable and newsworthy when they happen, we will all celebrate!  I for one will look back to this unlikely spot on the a bend in the Colorado river and appreciate it's out-sized contribution it made to the maturing and the direction of the grape growing and winemaking in Texas.  I will be there cheering "Remember the Alamosa!!!" 

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