After more than a year of looking, we found just the right place to combine our love of the country and our interest in wine. In the summer of 2016 we landed on a hilltop in Austin County with 36 acres of rolling pastures with live and post oak trees, a picturesque pond and a quaint little house that shares the hill top with a spectacular 100+ year old live oak tree. As inviting as all that represents, the best features are the near constant cooling breeze during the heat of the summer and the great hilltop views of 30+ miles not normally found so close to Houston. With that, Darst Ranch Vineyards was established in 2017 in Kenney, Texas.
We selected a location at the top of the hill on the ranch. The soil is a sandy loam of varying depths sitting atop a layer of clay. The sand allows water from our drip irrigation system to penetrate down through the root zones. Combined with the slope of the hill, the sand allows water to not only move down through the root zone but to also "flow" downhill through the sand once it reaches the clay. This facilitates moving water between rows and to vines below. The two acres of vines are planted in a North to South orientation to capitalize on both the drying and cooling effect of the near constant winds.
Sandy loam soil has proven to be ideal for growing Blanc du Bois vines and early indications are that our terroir is no exception. This grape is an American hybrid created by John A. Mortenson at the University of Florida in 1968. It was specifically developed to survive in southern and eastern coastal growing regions. Vintners are producing dry to semi-dry white wines of increasing quality. Austin County has emerged as one of the most successful areas for growing this varietal. In the spring of 2017 we planted our first three blocks of Blanc du Bois on grafted root stock (1103P) totaling 395 vines. Three more blocks totaling 529 vines were planted in the spring of 2018. A limited initial harvest from the most aggressive of the second leaf vines planted in 2017 is anticipated for the summer of 2018.
Harvest, June 27, 2020
Under the veil of Covid 19, Harvest 2020 was nothing short of a HUGE success. Using recommended CDC Covid guidelines, our “Harvest Partners” helped prepare the vineyard, grounds and food during the week prior to harvest and on Harvest Day they picked and loaded the grapes into bins, manned the crush pad and helped prepare and serve lunch. Many of the team members arrived before sunrise and were in the vineyard as soon as there was enough light to work, finishing by 11:00am. William Chris Winery picked up approximately five tons of fruit shortly thereafter.
THANKS to our volunteers! We couldn’t have done it without you!
Rico Adams, Debbie Fussell, Karen Shouse, Barbara and Steve Hall, Thomas Klettke, George Quintero, Grady Jarl, Luz and Joe Darst, Betsy and Gig Runge, Thomas Wang, Lisa Gertsch and Derek Dumas
Special THANKS to Sue Arrigo, Thomas Klettke, George Quintero, Amber Reed, Barbara Hall, Frieda Hale, Grady Jarl, Pat Reinhardt, Shaunae Trustee, Denise Gaspard, Cynthia Piro, Mike McCall, Lilly Gilmer, Dan Collins, Joe Darst, Elsie Biron, Beau Biron, Tony Parsons, Michael Parsons III and John Darst
Austin County Fair Wine Competition
Bronze medal for our 2019 Dry Blanc du Bois, Silver medals for the 2018 Blush and 2018 Dry Blanc Du Bois and the Gold medal and Belt Buckles (2) as GRAND CHAMPION Best of Show and BEST AUSTIN COUNTY WINE for our 2019 Sweet Blanc du Bois!
981 Travis Rd Kenney TX 77418 USA
Mailing Address: PO BOX 73 Kenney TX 77452
Sign up to hear from us about our events.
Welcome! Check out my new announcement.