With plenty of sunshine in recent weeks, Eden Hill’s Celina vineyard is thriving.
“About 600 plants on this acre and right now it's hanging about 5 tons,” said owner and winemaker Clark Hornbaker.
Wineries are big business here. More than 200 spill across the state, producing more than a million gallons each year.
Eden Hill bottles enough for 3,000 cases. Celina is home to a special variety – Tempranillo. The black grapes are native to Spain, but grow in our similar North Texas climate. They’re on track to harvest about three weeks early on August 5.
Hornbaker has been checking grapes daily.
“We're looking for a brown seed that gets crunchy. That's a real sign it's ripe,” he said.
Local vineyards fought the battle against rain in June and July, but lucked out with the dry heat that blanketed the region soon after.
“It's a real delicate dance between rain, warmth and too much hot temperature. Temperature wise, we love it when it comes up to about 95 and hovers there. Beyond that, we worry,” Hornbaker said.
What's good for the vine is also good for business inside.
Eden Hill's tasting room has seen a spike in visitors, partly because of the heat.
“It’s nice in here. They've got a really good space and it's cool,” said Sharla Brantley, a Celina resident visiting the winery for the first time.
“I've seen a huge growth. We've come here on Sundays when we couldn't even walk in,” said repeat visitor, Michael Arani.
Hornbaker and his wife also attribute the crowds to their prized offerings. Their 2016 Marsanne, a dry white wine, won gold in San Francisco at one of the largest wine festivals in the world.
“We've been to Napa and we've tasted a lot of wine and this wine is just as good if not better. Texas wine has become so popular,” Arani said.
"Texas to me, is like California in the late 70's, early 80's. We're experimenting with different varieties, we can afford to do that and we're starting to make really good wine,” Hornbaker said.
Good wine - thanks to help from Mother Nature.
Eden Hill’s owners said this could be one of their best years for wine. If you’d like to visit their tasting room, it’s open year round.
Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.