Whistling Duck Vineyards began operations in 2007 with the planting of 50 test vines at our 17 acre family farm in Weimar, Texas, and so began our labor of love. The vineyards were planted and maintained by the original six founders of Whistling Duck Vineyards — Stan & Mary Beth Johnson, John & Kari Cooke and Brent & Brenna Frazier. Brent and Brenna are also family members who were interested in the grape growing process. Brent is a Certified Arborist and brought valuable botany and plant pathology skills to the table. Due to specific growing conditions in South Texas that can result in reduced fruit production and, on occasion, vine death, we chose to plant non-viniferous, or non-European grapevines as our test vines. These grapes, Blanc du Bois and Lenoir (also commonly known as Black Spanish) are more resistant to specific challenges presented by growing conditions in Southeast Texas — mainly Pierce’s Disease. This southern site of our vineyard operation is a former hay field with well drained sandy loam soil which provides excellent soil for grape crop production. Since those humble beginnings, we have increased our Weimar vineyard operation and now have almost 4 acres of vines.
In the Spring of 2009, we expanded our vineyard operation to the north-central area of the state in Dublin, Texas, with the planting of 700 vines on a 55 acre family farm owned by Brenna’s father, Rod Prince. This farm has been in Rod’s family for decades and was originally used for raising a small number of cattle and growing vegetables and a fruit orchard. Because this northern location is not as susceptible to Pierce’s Disease and can better support viniferous, or European varietals, we chose to plant one (1) acre of Tempranillo and Viognier varietal grape vines. Over the past three years, we have expanded our Dublin vineyard operation and now have 2.75 acres of Tempranillo, Viognier, and Malbec grapes. As one of our vineyard owners, Rod continues to do a fantastic job developing and maintaining our beautiful vineyard in Dublin. When not working in the vineyard, Rod spends time on his first love — Rock and Roll music. As an original member of the band, Bubble Puppy, well known during the 60’s and 70’s, Rod and other band members are currently experiencing a resurgence at various Texas music venues as younger music fans discover the band’s amazing talents.
Our first partial grape production was realized in 2012. We harvested a total of 7.35 tons of grapes from our own vineyards — 1.7 tons of Tempranillo, 2.65 tons of Viognier, and 3.0 tons of Blanc du Bois. After setting aside a small amount of grapes for our personal wine-making, we sold the rest of the harvest to two local wineries. Our two vineyards continue to produce more high quality grapes that we will soon be making into high quality wines for everyone to enjoy.
During the first quarter of 2013, we received our State and Federal winery permits and began converting the red country barn at our vineyard location in Weimar into our “Uniquely Texas” country tasting room and winery.
From our 2013 harvest, we produced 8 different wines and opened our tasting room in February 2014. Our wines proved to be much more popular than we forecasted and by October 2014, we had sold out of 5 of our 8 wines. During this time we also entered some of our wines in competitions and were thrilled when we were awarded 1 Silver medal (for our 2013 Pura Vida) and 3 bronze medals (for our 2013 Blanc du Bois – Dry, Blanc du Bois – Semisweet, and Viognier) at the 2014 Lonestar International Wine Competition. We completed our 2014 wine production from the 14 tons of grapes we harvested in July and August and had all 8 wines back on the shelf in November 2014. We also entered 3 of our wines in the prestigious 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition and in the first round of competition we won a Bronze medal for our 2010 Tempranillo and 2013 Viognier wines and a Silver medal for our 2013 Pura Vida (Muscat Canelli) wine. In the second round of competition, our 2013 Pura Vida was named the Texas Class Champion wine.
In our first year of operation our Wine Club has grown to more than 400 members. We have lots of live music and food events at the winery where our members and customers continue to have “Porch Sittin’, Wine Sippin’, Country Trippin’ – FUN!! “