Fall Creek Vineyards

YOENOPHILE | By Denman Moody – 

Skipping over the slow-moving history of post-prohibition winemaking in Texas, the shining stars are Susan and Ed Auler of Fall Creek Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. These two have seen the results of years of passionate and dedicated work – traveling across the state hosting Fall Creek wine dinners for over 40 years and doing everything possible to enhance the Texas wine industry.

Ed, an attorney, worked tirelessly in the early days with the Texas Legislature to formulate many of the necessary laws to shape the nascent Texas wine industry. Susan was recognized by Wines and Vines Magazine as one of the top 50 wine people in the world. The Auler’s catapulted the Texas wine industry at least 10 years ahead of where it would be today without them. Until 2013, there were very few professionally-trained, experienced, seasoned winemakers in Texas, although the iconic Andre Tchelistcheff from Napa consulted for Fall Creek in the late 80s. This changed in 2013, as you will see in the following paragraphs, when the first great, full-time winemaker with proven, professional viticultural winemaking and international wine-marketing skills showed up at Fall Creek – Sergio Cuadra.

Cuadra, with an agronomy engineer degree and the Chilean title enólogo, worked with iconic French winemaker Jacques Lurton at San Pedro Winery in Chile.  He then moved to one of the largest and best wineries in the world, Concha Y Toro, where over a 10-year period, he established a strong relationship with a vast number of grape growers with the objective of improving quality dramatically while keeping sustainable yields.  As a winemaker, he came to understand the varietal/terroir/quality relationship in viticulture and winemaking that is sometimes difficult to understand, much less master.

Cuadra then worked at Caliterra with Ken Milne, Master of Wine, who had been chief winemaker at Villa Maria Winery in New Zealand.  And finally, he had the incredible opportunity to work for a year with one of the top wine consultants in the world, Paul Hobbs from Napa, with whom he has kept in touch until today.

It didn’t take Cuadra long to make his mark. The Fall Creek Chardonnay 2015 from the Certenberg Vineyard west of Austin – where it was supposedly too hot to make great Chardonnay – won “Best White Wine” at the massive Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition, and the Fall Creek 2015 Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre (GSM) from the Salt Lick Vineyard, right across the road from the Fall Creek Driftwood Tasting Room, was awarded Texas Monthly’s “Top Texas Wine” for 2019. And a year prior to that, The Dallas Morning News named Fall Creek “Best Winery in Texas.”

Fall Creek’s beautiful winery, vineyards and tasting room are located in Tow, Texas, north of Marble Falls, on Lake Buchanan. The new tasting room in Driftwood, about 25 minutes south of Austin, has surpassed expectations, and because of the propinquity to Austin, is now all the rage for all types of events, including wine, food, weddings, yoga, art and music. Visit www.fcv.com for a handle on Tow and Driftwood.