Pedernales Cellars began with Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, who planted their first vineyard near Fredericksburg in the early 1990s. During this time Texas wine pioneers worked with different grape varietals and viticulture practices, to help master winemaking in the Texas terroir; and over time the Kuhlken vineyard started producing consistently high-quality fruit with bold, intense flavors.
In 2005, Larry and Jeanine’s children, David and Julie – along with their spouses, Heather Kuhlken and Fredrik Osterberg – began plans for what would become Pedernales Cellars. Grown from the success of Kuhlken Vineyards, they developed the concept for a boutique winery focused on handcrafted, small-lot wines, and working with varietals that thrive in the rugged Texas Hill Country terrain.
Pedernales Cellars continues to be a family affair, with David as winemaker, Fredrik overseeing logistics as president, and Julie overseeing design and marketing — while Larry and Jeanine continue to oversee the family vineyards. Heather is a freelance photographer, and has contributed many of the photos one sees in the tasting room.
Pedernales Cellars draws its name from geography and history – the Pedernales River runs through the Texas Hill Country, and “pedernales” means flint in Spanish. The inspiration came when David found an old flint Indian arrowhead in the vineyard, while Fredrik found part of an Indian flint stone ax on the winery site. The serendipity of these two finds connected the vineyard, winery, the region, and its history.
We not only strive to make the highest quality wines in Texas, but we are equally committed do so in a sustainable way. We are proud of what we’ve done to exercise stewardship and realize this vision.
In the Winery
Sustainability starts with our winemaking facilities, which were designed to take advantage of the natural insulation of limestone and the humidifying and cooling Hill Country soil for barrel storage of wines. Our cellar and case storage facility are cooled via a geothermal cooling system reduced cooling energy by half.
We utilize open bin fermentation and compost by-products of the winemaking process. We use “re-coopered” refurbished barrels, to reduce the need for sourcing new wood. We also sell used barrels, available in our tasting room.
In the Vineyard
In our vineyard, we minimize water use through good ground cover management and promote natural pest management through the use of local species (such as Purple Martins for insects). Compost from the winery is also recycled back into the vineyard.
In the Tasting Room
Our tasting room features a number of local and sustainable products. These include delectable Pedernales Vineyard to Table salsas and sauces and oils by The Spicewood Food Company. We work to recycle the majority of our tasting room cardboard waste. Our winery building also uses CFL and solar lighting, rather than incandescent lighting.
On the Grounds
The Texas Hill Country enables us to make incredible wines, and we feel a responsibility to be good stewards of the land. Through removing cedar overgrowth and invasive plant species around our winery, we’ve been able to re-establish seeps and springs that had previously been lost, making a better habitat for the native Hill Country wildlife on our property.
Partnership with Hill Country Film Festival
Starting in 2015 Pedernales Cellars has partnered with the Hill Country Film Festival in their aim to develop the cinematic arts in central Texas and beyond. In addition to contributing to the festival and the summer film-making camp for local youths, Pedernales Cellars underwrites two of the awards given during the festival.
This is a great example of a Texas Tempranillo and for me it’s really showing proof positive that Texas can produce really beautiful wine.