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History By The Bottle

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Many people believe that in order to go to a nice vineyard or winery, you need to travel to Fredericksburg or to Napa. However, one family own vineyard and winery right here in Lolita is proving otherwise.

Allow me to introduce you to Lavaca Bluff's Vineyard and Winery. They are cozied up to the Lavaca River so you can enjoy a spectacular view as well as a nice bottle of wine and a touch of history.

"We bought this place in 1998, and there were wild grapes growing on the place," Doug Reed owner and lawn mower shared. "We had a really large tree at the foot of the hill, it takes like 5 people to reach around it. It was covered with wild mustang grape vines."

The previous owner of the land shared that if he didn't cut down the grape vines, the oak tree would die. So Doug grabbed his chainsaw and went to work...unfortunately that did not work. He later learned he was actually pruning the vines.

"If you can't beat them...join them," Doug said.

So he tried his hand at crafting wine.

"So as a hobby, we did the research on what grapes would grow here. Then we planted a little vineyard, still just as a hobby, it was never intended on being a commercial enterprise," he said.

A few years had passed and Doug had gotten better at creating wines and gave away plenty of bottles. That's when he wife gave him a meaningful but loving shove to either get serious or find a cheaper hobby. Thus, Lavaca Bluff's Vineyard and Winery was born.

"Seven years ago we got our license, and we opened and we've been open for seven years now. Luckily for us, every year sales have increased."

Though he has found passion in crafting wine, he cannot abandon his education roots. You see Doug is a retired school superintendent and his wife has a minor in History and a major in English.

"Yes, my lovely and talented wife, writes all of the histories on the back of the label. And she helps name these," he said gesturing to a bottle. "We try to tag each variety of wine with some historical point around here."

Such as Lost Mission.

"The grapes for this came from four French nuns who brought cuttings with them when they came to the United States in 1850 and they ended up founding the first convent in North America in Brownsville. They planted the grapevines they brought with them and after a while those grapevines supplied the wine for the cathedral for like 120 years."

Doug shared that story with me, as he does with many patrons. Well one day while sharing that story, a woman in the tasting room exclaimed that she owned an antique store in Brownsville and had a window from that convent.

"She said 'would you like to have it?' That's it right there," he said pointing to the window.

When you come to Lavaca Bluffs you'll get not only a cool glass of wine, a tour of the vineyard and a beautiful view...you'll get a piece of history by the bottle.

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