Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg, TX

Located 70 miles west of Austin and 75 miles northwest of San Antonio, Becker Vineyards, of Fredericksburg, Texas, planted their first vines in 1992 and offered their first wines three years later. Then the vineyards opened their first tasting room in 1996. Fourteen grape varieties grow across 46 acres. Becker was the first winery in the state to make Viognier or Malbec.

With the third largest production yield in Texas, Becker crafted 56,000 cases of wine during 2006, and 65,000 in 2008. And the culinary world has taken notice. These wines have been praised in Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Saveur and Decanter magazines, to name a few.

Owners and founders, Richard and Bunny Becker won't pour a wine they’re not proud of, and Richard believes that winemakers are like artists. Winemaker, Russell Smith, worked in Napa for nine years and then with other vineyards and wineries in Texas, and award-winning wines line a long display shelf in the winery's front lobby.

Becker Vineyards uses premium French and American oak  barrels for aging and only use each barrel twice. The winery rarely adds sugar or fruit concentrate to their wine; they also tell grape growers when to pick the grapes and what level of sugar goals are required. Visitors can find their favorite vintage while enjoying samples in the large new tasting room.

But more than grapes grow on Becker Vineyards acreage. Lavender fills a three-acre field behind the winery and infuses body care and other products with its heavenly scent, including Lavender Comfrey Salve, lotion, sea salt scrub, eye pillows, candles, room spray, sachets and bookmarks. Finally, each May, visitors can enjoy the annual Lavender Festival. The two-day event features cooking demonstrations, speakers, a luncheon and, of course, acres of fully blooming lavendar.

Wine lovers - and lavender lovers - will find a lot to like about Becker Vineyards.

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