October 6, 2023


There’s An Incubator in Texas
Let’s find out about this “wine incubator” in Texas during Texas Wine Month. Kerrville Hills Winery is being used as an incubator to start new wineries in Texas. Not everyone has the money, winemaking experiences and business background to start a winery. Texas has an outstanding winemaker who consistently earns Gold Medals to add to his Double Gold Medals AND wants to help others become successful winemakers. He is a sixth generation TEXAN and his name is John Rivenburgh. The Kerrville Hills Incubator is a shared-space collaborative incubator that John began in 2020 and has been his dream since he started making wine. This incubator has the wine fermentation tanks and equipment to make wine AND to provide the practical teachings on how to grow grapes and make wines successfully. In reality, this Incubator is both a working winery AND an educational facility on oenology. Texas Tech University and Texas A and M University both teach oenology, but they do NOT have a working winery on site. John Rivenburgh provides both at Kerrville Hills Winery. You can read about the technical aspects of growing grapes and making wines, but it helps to have “street-smarts” to apply that technical information. John Rivenburgh provides both the technical aspects with practical applications of that information on the CRUSH pad and fermentation tanks in his winery. The Kerrville Hills Incubator currently has 19 wineries in the “gestation period” that participate in the winemaking/production side or the vineyard installation/management side. The incubator is headquartered at Kerrville Hills Winery at 3600 Fredericksburg Road between Kerrville and Fredericksburg.
Current Texas wineries that grew from the Kerrville Hill Winery incubator include:
• Elisa Christopher, Johnson City,
• Ab Astris Winery, in the Hye/Johnson City area,
• Saba Winery, in Mason, and
• Nobleman Wines, with a small tasting room at Kerrville Hills Winery property.
Wineries set to launch soon include:
• The Cause Urban Winery in Houston,
• Portree Cellars in Johnson City, and
• Austoria in Victoria, Texas.
These wineries grew up with Mr. Rivenburgh’s tutelage on how to grow grapes and make wines; where to find funding; how to budget; and the day-to-day practical needs to establish a thriving business. John has been innovative in the Texas Wine Industry, bringing the Flash Détente’ fruit extraction process to the Texas Crush Pad. In addition, John is working on adding a Crusher/De-stemmer to the mechanical grape-picking process to leave the stems in the vineyard and bring the crushed grapes to the winery’s fermentation tanks directly for the red wines. John’s background and his personality make him an outstanding mentor for those wanting to enter into the Texas Wine Industry. Best time to make that decision to enter the Texas Wine Industry is during Texas Wine Month.
Virtual Wine Tastings Online during Texas Wine Month
Try a new approach on Thursday evenings by enjoying Texas Wines with William Chris Wines. This educational Virtual Tasting Series pays tribute to all the unique flavors that Texas has to offer. Director of Education Kelsey Kramer at William Chris Wines will lead each class with special guests popping in throughout the lesson. The classes will take place on Thursdays in October starting at 6PM. Hosting a virtual class allows for Texas wine lovers across the country to learn from afar. You can purchase the wines online and register for each virtual tasting via the winery’s FaceBook account. Happy tasting!
Texas Restaurants serving Texas Wines
Otto’s German Restaurant in Fredericksburg proudly serves Ab Astris wines in their famous restaurant near the Fredericksburg Square. They understand that good, local ethnic German foods pair GREAT with Texas Wines. When in Fredericksburg enjoying the Texas Hill Country, give Otto’s a try with their German-style courtyard.

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