When you write about Texas wine, there are iconic names. Doc McPherson, followed by his son, Kim. Messina Hoff. Fall Creek. And then there is Becker—Dr. Richard, and more importantly, his wife, Mary Clementine Ellison “Bunny” Becker.
Becker Vineyards started when Dr. Richard and Bunny Becker sought a Texas Hill Country getaway from San Antonio. In 1992, they found it in Stonewall, halfway between Fredericksburg and Johnson City. They aimed at a small operation, but it soon blossomed and Becker Vineyards, located on 46 acres near a lovely lavender field, now runs with big dogs of American wine.
Becker is the largest buyer of French and American oak in Texas. It produces 140,000-plus cases a year, allowing for extensive distribution, something many Texas wineries have not yet achieved.
The lovely Stonewall winery makes the wine. The Texas High Plains AVA grows most of the grapes. This is the Texas formula. The High Plains—3,000 to 4,000 feet altitude—with 40–degree diurnal differences, sandy loam soils, relatively small stress from pests and mildew, is an ideal wine growing region.
The Texas Hill Country AVA—with millions of nearby visitors from San Antonio, Austin, and other Texas cities—is the winery and tasting room center. With quality restaurants, museums, beautiful country, excellent accommodations, and attractive wineries, it is the second-most visited wine region in the United States.
Bunny Becker was a standout advocate for Texas wine—and not just because she stood six feet tall (her husband is six-six, prompting the jest that they had the attitude and altitude to promote Texas wine). She passed in August, a sad time for all Texas wine, but what an example she set.
Becker, especially with its wide distribution and at its spacious tasting room in Fredericksburg and its tasting room/winery in Stonewall, is a paradigm of the Texas wine industry. Bunny gets much of the credit.
• Becker Vineyards Texas Viognier 2017: Delicious, easy drinking, pure Texas viognier. Viognier pairs with a wide variety food. $13 Link to my review
• Becker Vineyards Texas Tempranillo 2017: Impressive, all-Texas-fruit wine at an everyday wine price. $13 Link to my review
• Becker Vineyards Malmsey Late Harvest Viognier 2015: Marvelously delicious dessert wine; Texas homage to Madeira Malmsey that nicely succeeds. Highly recommended. Sip this solo and count it as your dessert. $35 Link to my review
Last round: A nice bottle of Texas wine not only will decorate your table, but it also can hide your cooking mistakes.