March 29, 2024


Women Continue to Help Texas Wineries Excel
Texas wineries are and have been impacted on a daily basis by women. It’s time these contributions have been brought to the public’s attention. Texas’ only winery to have survived Prohibition is Val Verde Winery, now in its fourth generation. Women in the Qualia Family have helped their Italian Husbands in the winery since the winery was established in 1883. Maureen Qualia is the Great Granddaughter of Frank and Maria Qualia. Frank’s son, Louis, married Kathleen. Today, the winery is operated by Thomas Qualia who is the Father of Maureen, a Texas Tech University Professor, who is credited in establishing that University’s Degree Course work in Oenology. Val Verde Winery completed its 141st year of continuous winemaking and is the oldest bonded winery in the state of Texas. They were awarded the Land Heritage Award from the United States Department of Agriculture for single-family-ownership of their vineyards for over 100 years. Because of their longevity ans survival through Prohibition as a producer of Sacramental Wines, the Val Verde Winery is a landmark and an innovator in the growing Texas wine industry. Its survival was assured by the lineage of women in the Qualia Family and is an inspiration to its future and the future of the industry in Texas.
The Bingham Family on the Texas High Plains were cotton farmers turned grape growers and eventually winemakers. Betty Bingham is the Matriarch of this Christian Family of Farmers. She supports her husband Clint and raised eleven children invoking strong moral character in her home-schooling, love of music, and tenacity as the next generation of grape growers is using grapes they grow to produce outstanding wines. The success of this hard-working family takes its solid basis on the strong relationship between Betty and her husband.
Just down the road are vineyards operated by Dr. Vijay Reddy and Subada, his wife of 53 years. This duo pioneered grape farming on the Texas High Plains. Through many trials, this couple has established itself as one of the premier grape growers in Texas. Their vineyard home is on the second floor of their farm implement barn and overlooks the vistas of their vineyards which contains over twenty grape varietals. This duo continues to experiment to find the right grape varietals to grow on the Texas High Plains. It is their love for each other and for their vineyards that continues to propel them to greater heights in grape horticulture. Although the Texas High Plains can be challenging to flourish, this couple have found the right formula to excel.
Multi-Generation cotton Farmers Janice and Neal Newsom, began their grape planting in 1986 with three acres of grapes. Their grapes thrived in the thin soils so more and more grapes were planted. They found that grapes required way less water than cotton. With the local Ogallala Aquifer water levels dropping, it was a “no-brainer” for them to transition into grape growing. The Newsoms pioneered Texas-High-Plains pruning to delay leaf bud to the latter parts of April and early May to avoid late freeze destruction of their grape crops. This husband-wife duo showed how by working together they could share their technology breakthroughs with others. They are known throughout the State for their Newsom Vineyard Days held in their spacious equipment barn. Two days each year, they share Texas hospitality, BBQ, their Texas humor with their “alleged UFO’s” on their barn walls amd a lot of great Texas Wines in the first part of May each year.
Texas women continue to work side by side with their married counter-parts in Texas vineyards and wineries to help provide the outstanding grapes that continue to be used to make World Class wines in Texas.

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