On Labor Day (1st Monday in September) in the US, a unique wine event takes place. This is a cooperation between a High end subdivision’s Home owners association, a Real-estate Developer and Winery and a Running club. The San Antonio Road Runners Labor Day Whine Run. This 5 mile race through the Vintage Oaks subdivision in Comal County, Tx take the runners on a course through the hill country of Texas. The race course is quite hilly and proves that the hill country lives up to its name. It really is a goof fun race, made better by the fact that the wine is served at 9:00AM after the finish.
Dry Comal Creek Winery began as a retreat for In the 1970s for San Antonio attorney Franklin Houser and his wife, Bonnie. They purchased 103 acres of land just outside of New Braunfels as a getaway home for their young family. The Dry Comal Creek was full of wild mustang grapes and dewberries.
In 1992 when Franklin retired, the first grapes were planted. The initial planting was nearly 4000 vines. The first harvest was in 1995 and the first wines were produced in 1998. Major floods in 1998 and 2002 washed out the vineyards twice and severely damaged the winery, providing a major set-back for the business. In 2000, testing confirmed that the vineyard was infested with Pierce’s disease, a Gulf coast bacterial pathogen that kills vines. The owners had to rip out two entire crops of diseased plants, leaving them without grapes to harvest.
Determined to succeed, Franklin and Bonnie creatively developed a series of core wines that no other Texas or California winery was making. And, since there is no known cure for Pierce’s disease, Franklin researched and found a resistant grape named Black Spanish.
The Dry Comal Creek Black Spanish Reserve is the only wine made entirely of a Texas native grape. This win has garnet hue with aromas of tobacco and rose petals. It is a medium bodied red wine with a soft front, a fruit filled middle of floral tones, raspberry and cherry, and lingering soft finish with nice acidity, thus making it very versatile with an array of foods. The Black Spanish Reserve wine is the flagship product of the winery and a consistent award winner. Because the vineyard was afflicted twice by Pierce’s disease, they utilize grapes, juice and wine from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Washington and Oregon to produce the other wines under their label. Dry Comal Creek works to obtain the best grapes for us in making their wine.
After the race we were treated to tasting of the French Colombard, the Foot Pressed Red and the Red Sangria. The French Colombard, was very popular among the runners, but since I always gravitate to the reds, that is where I went. This red wine is fruity, with a full mouth feel, spices and light tannins. The back label of the bottle lists the individuals that personally “foot pressed” the grapes on a hot Texas afternoon at Dry Comal Creek’s annual grape-stomp. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Tinta Cao and Toriga Nacional (both Portugese Varietals) grapes makes this a great wine for sipping. More on the wines in a future post.
If you are nearby, stop in and check out the winery, take the tour and then stop by the tasting room. The tour and tasting fees will run you between $11.00 and $21.00 depending on which wines you decide to taste. The winery tours is designed to educate and give you a feel for the labor of love in making wine. The tasting room is non-pretentious and even a bit raucous at times.