Bonnie & Franklin Houser
Franklin and Bonnie Houser purchased 103 acres of land just outside of New Braunfels in the 1970's as a get-away home for their young family. The Dry Comal Creek was full of wild mustang grapes and dewberries.
In 1992, the first vines were planted as a 'retirement project' for the retired attorney, Franklin Houser. The following year, after a successful inaugural growing season, Dry Comal Creek Vineyards planted 4,000 vines of Vitus vinifera. The first grapes were harvested in 1995, the first wine produced in 1998 and the Tasting Room opened the same year.
Two catastrophic floods in 1998 and 2002, washed out the vineyards and the winery, forcing a major set-back for the business, but Mother Nature hadn't finished playing games, of course. In 2000, testing confirmed that the vineyard was infested with Pierce's disease, a gulf-coast bacterial pathogen that kills vines. On two occasions, an entire crop of diseased plants were ripped out. Essentially no grapes - no wine!
Instead of folding up shop, the owners got creative and developed a series of core wines that no other Texas or California winery, for that matter, was making. And, since there is no known cure for Pierce's disease, Houser researched and found a resistant grape named Black Spanish (or Lenoir).
Oh yes, they still have vineyards, but they are only Black Spanish and doing so with such great success that they have become known as the 'pioneers' in Texas of Black Spanish wine.
Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020 at 2:00pm Central Time
Thursday, Dec 3, 2020 at 6:30pm Central Time
Monday, Nov 30, 2020 at 10:00am Eastern Time
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