Tag Archive | "Becker Vineyards"

Coming Up: Food Bank’s Harvest of Hope, Boiler House, More

Harvest of Hope,  Sept. 15

Hosted at the Westin La Cantera Resort, Harvest of Hope is a tasting event that benefits the San Antonio Food Bank. September is Hunger Action Month, and you can check out many ways to help those who are in need of food for themselves and families. Click here.

At Harvest of Hope, guests are invited to sample signature dishes prepared by San Antonio’s finest chefs, restaurants, hotels and catering companies, while listening to live music and bidding on fabulous silent auction items.

To purchase tickets for $100 or to sponsor a table, please contact Jennifer Carter, special events coordinator, at (210) 431-8309 or

One Lucky Duck sign

One Lucky Duck Juice Bar and Takeaway Now Open at Pearl

The first franchise of One Lucky Duck Juice Bar and Takeaway outside of New York City has opened in San Antonio. One Lucky Duck offers fresh and premade juices, shakes, and salads, in addition to various other chef-driven menu items from Pure Food and Wine in NYC.

Some of the healthful, delicious options at One Lucky Duck include vegan cookies and macaroons, granola, and nut bars, as well as to three- and five-day cleansing options. Stop by and explore the newest addition to the Pearl culinary scene. Hours are 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday. They are at 303 Pearl Parkway. 210-223-DUCK (3825).

Be There: Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden Fall Preview Wine Event

wine bottleBoiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden is introducing fall and seasonal wines with a Fall Wine Preview Event. On Sept. 9, come and taste 20 wines including reds, whites and bubbles, from the Discoveries and Selections portfolio specifically blended for Lasco Enterprises, the parent company of Boiler House.

Featured wines include Guard Shack Zinfandel, Retrospect Cabernet and Meritage and Max and Jacques Pinot Noir.

Chef Jeff White will pair the wines with Texas-Ranch style tapas highlighting the restaurant’s signature breads and spreads as well as gourmet sliders including Green Chili Pork with green goddess slaw; Prime Rib with horseradish crème fraiche; and BBQ Short Rib with house-made pickles and lemon aioli. 210.354.4644

Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden is at 312 Pearl Parkway. To come to this Sunday, Sept. 8 event, 2-6 p.m, is $45 per person, not including tax or tip.

Reserve your seat by calling the Boiler House directly at 210.354.4644.

Kevin Sousa, Pittsburgh restaurateur

Kevin Sousa, Pittsburgh restaurateur


The Granary ‘Cue & Brew at Pearl, Kevin Sousa — Guest Chef Collaborative Dinner

The Granary ‘Cue & Brew at the Pearl announces their next Guest Chef Collaborative dinner. The dinner, Monday, Sept. 9, will be star James Beard nominee and chef, Kevin Sousa from Pittsburgh, Penn. Sousa’s restaurants include Salt of the Earth, Union Pig & Chicken and Station Street Hot Dogs.

Seatings will be available at 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Cost is $69 per person. Beer & wine pairings are extra. Look forward to seven “innovative” courses. Check The Granary website here for more information, and to make reservations on Open Table.


FratellosOpen now: Fratello’s on Broadway

This Italian deli also make pizzas, salads, panini, antipasti, soups and more.  An Italian Market offers “fresh baked breads, cookies and pastries, as well as an assortment of gelatos.  Fratello’s will offer imported Italian pastas, San Marzano tomatoes, olive oils and vinegars. Check out the website at 210-444-0253.


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Griffin to Go: Think and Drink Pink

Rosé comes in many shades of pink.

Rosé comes in many shades of pink.

This past Saturday brought Culinaria’s annual Rambling Rosé to Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, and for at least one day, it was all about pink.

And that’s just fine with me.

Steven Krueger unveils a bottle of rosé.

Steven Krueger unveils a bottle of rosé.

For the past nine years or so, Bonnie Walker and I have been part of the panel along with vineyard owner Richard Becker, sommelier Steven Krueger from the Westin La Cantera and selected friends of dry rosé, including wine merchant Woody De Luna, to talk about the appeal of this special style of wine while we sampled a half-dozen fine examples with two large groups of interested tasters.

Nine years ago, it seemed as if we were all speaking in some sort of vacuum. The audience was made up largely of people who only drank either red or white wine, and nothing but, and they weren’t about to change.

In the last three or four years, however, people have become more open. A good number of people in the audience now freely admit that dry rosé is part of their regular wine-drinking diet. It might be once a month or only when the temperature is over 100 degrees, which it was on Saturday. But the message that this wine is perfect for Texas is getting out.

Rosé is now the style of wine I drink most. I love the fact that you can ice it down and refresh yourself with its youthful essence. Plus, it’s a perfect food wine, whether you want a wine to go with beef fajitas with a spritz of lime or shrimp off the grill. Krueger made a good argument for having rosé with your Thanksgiving meal because it goes with so much of the meal.

You find more rosés of all price ranges, styles and even colors in the market these days, and they’re coming from all corners of the wine-growing world. Plus, they’re made with grapes as varied as Pinot Noir, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The audience enjoys sampling the wines.

The audience enjoys sampling the wines.

On Saturday, we tasted several dry Old World styles from France and from Texas with bright acid, good minerality, vibrancy and an elegance that was quite pleasing. We also tasted several New World styles with lively fruit flavors and the occasional touch of residual sugar.

The lineup featured several from France, including the 2012 Le Poussin Rosé from the Languedoc-Roussillon and the 2012 Balandran Les Mugues Rosé from Costières-de-Nîmes. The 2012 Alexander Vineyards Rosé was from Bordeaux, and it was made by Claude Alexander, who is opening a tasting room next week along the 290 wine trail that stretches from Johnson City to Fredericksburg; his other wines include a Champagne and a German Riesling, with more, including Texas wines, to come in the future.

Also in the Old World style was the host’s contribution, the 2012 Becker Vineyards Provençal from Tallent Vineyard in the Texas High Plains.

New World-style rosés included the 2012 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Blanc from the Brugioni Vineyard on California’s Sonoma Coast and the 2012 I’M Deep Rosé from Napa Valley.

All are available for about $12-$15 a bottle, and all found fans among both audiences and the panelists. In the case of the wines we sampled, the Old World-style rosés were marked by a more copperish pink, or saumon color, as the French call it, while the two New World-style had more red in them.

A "Deep" Rose

A “Deep” Rosé

It was great to hear the comments from the audience about what pleased them or whether they enjoyed a certain wine by itself or with the duck confit that chef John Brand had served. One gentleman, whom I recognized from having attended in years past, made the astute observation that the quality of all the wines has increased greatly overall. In fact, he enjoyed all six of the wines poured. High praise, indeed, and it’s also a clue as to why rosés have become more popular. After all, who doesn’t like a good bottle of wine at a reasonable price?

Another sign that some sort of cultural tide has been forded? In two panel discussions, the dreaded words “white Zinfandel” were not mentioned a single time, even in a derogatory manner. Rosé has reclaimed its position in the wine world.

If you haven’t tried any lately, what are you waiting for?

Culinaria’s next event, Restaurant Week, begins this Saturday and runs through Aug. 24. Click here for details.

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Becker Wines Win 7 Awards in San Francisco; More News

Becker winesBecker Vineyards won seven awards in the 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition, including a double gold medal for the Becker Vineyards 2011 Claret.

While the entire list of winners has not yet been released, Richard Becker, owner of the pioneering winery and vineyards in Stonewall, said he received word recently from the competition about the winning Becker wines.  These include:

Double Gold Medal Becker Vineyards 2011 Claret
Gold Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Cabernet-Syrah Reserve
Silver Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Tempranillo Reserve, Bingham
Silver Medal Becker Vineyards 2011 Raven
Silver Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Dry Riesling, Ballinger Vineyard
Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2011 Merlot, Reserve
Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2012 Chenin Blanc

Also: at the Concours d’ Vin, Lyon, France, the 2012 Becker Vineyards Viognier won a silver medal.

New Releases

2012 Becker Vineyards Prairie Rotie, Rhone-style blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, and Syrah.
2012 Becker Vineyards Albarino, grown at the vineyard in Mason
2011 Becker Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (Canada Family)

chiliIndependence Day Chili Cook-off

Chili lovers, head for the annual Independence Day Chili Cook-off benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Greater Fredericksburg. That will be Thursday, July 4th from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Chili Cook-off schedule is as follows: 10 a.m. Chili Cooks’ Meeting; 11 a.m. Public Chili Sampling Begins ($5 for 10 samples); 11:30 a.m. Salsa Judging Begins; 2 p.m. Chili Judging Begins.  CASI rules can be downloaded at Chili Cooks’/Salsa Registration Contact:  Alan Dean 512-567-2835.  Registration Fee:  $20 Chili/$10 Salsa.

And: Brian Mullin will play music from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.  There will also be a Chili Dog Concession (benefiting the charity as well) and of course wine tasting of Beckers’ award-winning wines!

Becker Vineyards is located 11 miles east of Fredericksburg off US Hwy 290 at Jenschke Lane.  (Physical Address:  464 Becker Farms Road)

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Becker Vineyards Lavender Festival Is in April

The Blanco Lavender Festival is June 10-12.

Lavender season is coming soon in the Texas Hill Country .

Becker Vineyards hosts its 15th Annual Lavender Festival, April 27 and 28.

This favorite spring-season Hill Country event will feature speakers and vendors promoting lavender cooking education as well as herb-related products.  There will also be gardening tips, cooking demonstrations, wine tasting, and lavender luncheons.  Business hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.  The event is complimentary; parking is $5.

The event will offer plenty to eat, with  Stout Pizza and Clear River Pecan Company.  Choose gift items from more than 36 vendors selling lavender products, gardening related items and more.

The popular Lavender Luncheons will be cater on Saturday by Rails, A Café at The Depot in Kerrville.  The Sunday luncheon caterer is Alfred’s Catering, in Austin.

For menus to the Lavender Luncheons on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28, go Becker Vineyard’s news and events page, and click under the events on the calender.

Both luncheons begin at 12:30 p.m. and are $65 plus tax, per person.  Reservations required; purchase those on-line at Becker Vineyards or call or 830-644-2681 x 230.

LavenderCulinary students from the Art Institute of San Antonio will conduct some of the lavender cooking demonstrations as will local chefs. (Note: Speaker presentations and cooking demonstrations are subject to change.)

Chris Perrenoud, lavender manager, creates and produces various lavender products which will be for sale to the public during the festival.  She makes beautiful lavender sachets, scented wands, lavender bundles, soaps, potpourris, lotions and more.

More information will be available over the next few weeks leading up to the festival.  Visit Becker Vineyards for more information on the upcoming Lavender Festival or call 830-644-2681 x 302.

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Becker Wines, Hill Top Cafe Vintner Dinner

The Hill Top Café and Becker Vineyards invite you to join them at a vintner dinner Sunday, January 27.  The four-course dinner, created by Hill Top chef Martin Hobson and  Brenda Nicholas, owner and culinary director, kicks off with a wine reception beginning at 5 p.m.  Johnny and Brenda Nicholas, Hill Top Café proprietors, and Dr. Richard and Bunny Becker, Becker Vineyards proprietors, will be present to meet and greet guests.

Hill Top Café, 10661 North US Hwy 87, Fredericksburg, Texas: $75 per person, plus tax and tip.  Seating is limited; please make reservations at the Hill Top Café:  830-997-8922. Directions:  Hill Top Café is north of Fredericksburg at 10661 North U.S. Hwy 87.

About Becker wines at Hill Top Vintner Dinner

While Becker Vineyards owns three different vineyards, they also purchase additional grapes from several grape growers.  Three of the five wines being served at the vintner dinner will include the Provencal (a dry rose’ made from Mourvedre), Reserve Merlot, and Raven (a blend of 75 percent Malbec and 25 percent Petit Verdot) are made with grapes grown by Drew and Laura Tallent of Tallent Vineyards in Mason, Texas.

The Hill Top Cafe presents the following dinner, prepared around the Becker wines that will be served that night.


Becker Vineyards Provencal 2012


Heart of Winter Roasted Vegetables Bisque

Parsnip, Turnip and Carrots caramelized with a dry Sherry and topped with Chives.

Becker Vineyards Viognier 2012


Warm Crab Louie Salad

Served over grilled Belgian Endive and Avocado Slices.

Becker Vineyards Raven 2010


Niman Ranch Pork Tender Short Loin Wellington

Topped with Duck Liver Pate baked en Croute with Bearnaise Sauce and Brown Butter Asparagus and served with Roasted Red Potatoes and Julienned Winter Vegetables.

Becker Vineyards Reserve Merlot 2011


Heavenly Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut Mousse, Crème Anglaise and Raspberries

Becker Vineyards Riesling 2012








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Pumpkin Chunkin’ At Becker Vineyards is Nov. 10

Big orange pumpkins mean fall is here.

If launching pumpkins into the air using a medieval weapon of war sounds like fun, then Becker Vineyards is where you’ll want to be next weekend.

This is the second annual Pumpkin Chunkin,’ which will take place at Becker Vineyards, near Stonewall, starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10.

There is no entry charge; food and music are also on the bill.

From 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Doug Moreland will play music near the winery veranda and continue launching pumpkins between songs.  Originally from the mountains of west Texas, Moreland settled down in Austin at the turn of the millennium as a fiddler, songwriter, and woodcarver.  In January 2012, he released “The Flying Armadillos,” the eighth of his independent albums.

Moreland received a Will Rogers Cowboy Award for Western Music Male Performer of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists. He received an Entertainer of the Year award from the Texas Music Awards. Doug also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with his former companion Holly-peño, a black and white McNab dog.  For more information, please visit here.

In addition to being the featured musician at this event, Moreland built the trebuchet being used for Pumpkin Chunkin’.

This is a miniature trebuchet, built for the desktop – but you get the picture.

A trebuchet is a type of catapult that works by using the energy of a raised counterweight to throw the projectile. Initially, the sling, which has a pouch containing the projectile, is placed in a trough below the axle, which supports the beam. Upon releasing the trigger, the sling and the beam swing around toward the vertical position, where one end of the sling releases, opening the pouch and propelling the projectile towards the target.

The trebuchet did not become obsolete until the 15th century, well after the introduction of gunpowder, which appeared in Europe in second half of 13th century

Stout Pizza is the food concession for Saturday’s event.  Artisan cheeses, sausages, and gourmet crackers will also be for sale.

Pumpkin Chunkin’ is a complimentary event; no reservations are required.  And there is no cover charge to hear Doug Moreland and The Flying Armadillos.

Becker Vineyards is located 11 miles east of Fredericksburg off U.S. Highway 290 at Jenschke Lane.  For more information contact 830-644-2681.


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Harvests of Grapes and Rosés at Becker Vineyards

Rosés of all hues.

STONEWALL — Things were pretty in pink Saturday as Becker Vineyards hosted its annual Rambling Rosé panel.

The two sold-out sessions, sponsored by Culinaria, featured a half-dozen rosés from France, Texas and California that the panelists tasted blindly while discussing the wines and their fondness for rosé with those in attendance.

The growing popularity of rosé could be seen by the number of attendees who admitted that they had bottles of the summertime favorite at home. Several years ago, very few raised their hands when asked if they drank rosé; this year, more than a dozen hands shot into the air at the same question.

What’s the appeal?

In Texas, the eternal summer with days topping 100 for great stretches is a starter. As Richard Becker told the gathering, rosé is one of the two wines that the French served iced down (Champagne is the other). That means, dry, icy rosé is a great way to chill out.

Richard Becker inspects recently harvested grapes.

It’s also a great food wine, whether you’re serving seafood, a steak or roast chicken. As moderator Steven Krueger, sommelier for the Westin La Cantera, pointed out, it’s the perfect Thanksgiving wine, because it is so versatile.

This was brought home by a lamb dish with a spicy mustard, micro herbs and deconstructed peas and carrots, all prepared by chef John Brand of Las Canarias and Ostra.

Of the rosés sampled, four were from France, including the brightly acidic Jean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé, the subtle Whispering Angel from Chateau d’Esclans, the Syrah-based Sybel from Yves Cuilleron, and the grenache-based Le Poussin. California was the home of the “deeper rosé “(meaning almost red) from IM, or Isabel Mondavi, which had a touch of residual sugar.

The fresh and vibrant Becker Vineyards Provençal ably demonstrated what Texas can bring to rosé.

Among the other panelists were Woody de Luna of Vintages 2.0, artist and wine lover Harold Wood, Becker Vineyards’ new winemaker Jonathan Leahy and myself.

Chef John Brand (left) and sous chef Gene Moss.

And the message of it all: Go out and grab a rosé. Find out for yourself why this is such a rewarding, refreshing wine.

Visitors to the winery, and they were out in throngs Saturday, also got to see the grapes come in as harvest time is underway. The volume is much greater this year than last year, when the drought affected vineyards across the state. But this a similarity between the two harvests: Last year’s grapes had concentrated flavor, and so do this year’s grapes, Becker said.

Richard and Bunny Becker are also putting the finishing touches on a new private tasting area that’s underneath the main tasting room. The former barrel room has a lengthy table for tastings or dinners. There’s also an area that houses a library of the winery’s age-worthy wines, a few of which date back to the winery’s early days.

The winery started 20 years ago, as one of the Beckers’ sons, Joe, said. He was on hand to offer a few stories of how his mother and he planted the first vineyards around the property back in 1992, though the first wine wasn’t bottled for another three years.

Now the winery bottles more than 100,000 cases a year in a variety of styles, such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as grapes relatively new to Texas, including Barbera and Tempranillo.

Workers feed grapes into the crusher destemmer.

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Culinaria Rambling Rosé, Restaurant Week Coming Up!

Rambling Rosé

In the hottest part of the summer, Culinaria reminds you that a perfect summer wine, especially for Texas’ spicy food, is a great, dry rosé. Rambling Rosé will again be hosted by Becker Vineyards, Saturday, Aug. 11. You’ll participate in a blind tasting of a varied selection of rosés along with a panel who will lead the discussion on the quality of the wines and palate of flavors.

Chef John Brand of Las Canarias at the Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel and Ostra at Mokara will provide tastes of food that goes well with a cool glass of rosé to complete the day.

There are two sessions: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The cost is $25 per person. Click here to make your reservations. Becker Vineyards is off Highway 290, near Stonewall, on Jenschke Lane.

Culinaria’s Restaurant Week, Aug. 18-25

Get ready for a week of culinary adventure and exploration! Enjoy a wonderfully crafted, specially priced three-course meal for $15 at lunch or $35 at dinner.

Keep informed by following Culinaria on Twitter @culinariasa, for updates. SavorSA, @mysavorsa will also be tweeting updates as we receive them. Restaurant Week reservations are not required; however making them is a good idea. Make your reservations by calling the participating restaurants.

 Check in frequently at to view the list of participating locations.

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Becker Vineyards: Harvest Time, New Winemaker

Nairn harvester thrashes its way through the Sauvignon Blanc grapevines at this year’s harvest at Becker Vineyards. (Photo Courtesy Becker Vineyards)

By Nichole Bendele

Becker Vineyards’ general manager says this should be a year of good harvest.

“This year the yields are up.  The vines are loaded with grapes,” said Bret Perreoud, general manager, about this season’s grape harvest. “We are predicted to harvest about 1,000 tons of grapes … similar to 2010.”

Last year Texas encountered a drought year.  Grape tonnage was down across the state not because of lack of watering, but instead from factors like triple-digit numbers for 86 days, birds, raccoons and dust storms.

“Because of drought conditions, there wasn’t enough vegetation to hold the dirt down in the Texas High Plains. Some of the grape growers experienced fierce dust storms which basically sand blasted the grapes off the vines, said Perrenoud.

“Monday morning (July 9) we harvested 3 ½ tons of Sauvignon Blanc from the vineyard in front of the winery,” said Perrenoud.  “But we will officially begin full harvest either July 15 or 16.”

The popular tasting room/gift shop in full swing, at Becker Vineyards

Meanwhile, a new winemaker has joined Becker, while the former consulting winemaker, Russ Smith, has headed for exciting new challenges in Spain.

Smith worked the past 13 years at Becker Vineyards. He recently purchased a vineyard in Spain. The six-acre property is in the Montsant District, about a half-mile from the Priorat region and has 40- and 60-year old Carignan vines.  He will be growing grapes and making wine under his name. He and his wife, Susan, plan to divide their time between Spain and Texas.

Jonathan Leahy joined the Becker Vineyards team last month as winemaker.  Leahy hails from California where he was winemaker at Terroir Napa Valley in St. Helena – a 95,000-case production winery – as well as a consulting winemaker at Inspiration Vineyards in Santa Rosa, CA.

Although Leahy is a native Californian, his family is from Texas.  He has relatives in  Grapevine, Flower Mound, and San Antonio.  His father was in the Air Force, stationed in San Antonio and then transferred to March Air Force Base in Riverside, Calif. where Jonathan was born.

He is excited to be closer to family and to make wine in Texas.  He has been impressed with both the quality of the grapes and as well as the wines in Texas.

The Leahy and Becker team will also be working with the two other vineyards, one in Ballinger and one in Mason, that seem promising this year. The Ballinger vineyard was purchased in 1997; Jesse Pena is the vineyard manager there. “This vineyard has some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the state – 30 years old,” said Perrenoud.

“There is extraordinary fruit across the state of Texas,” says Leahy. I tried some great (Texas) wines and then visited the grape growers. They take great care in growing the grapes and are fastidious about their grape culture. It solidified the wine I had tasted in the glass,” he said.  “Texas is poised — a grand boom is about to take place.”

The Mason vineyard was purchased from Beverly Cartwright in February 2011.  Perrenoud mentioned the 12-acre vineyard produces some of the limited production wines only available in the Becker Vineyards tasting room, including the Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Zinfandel, and Albarino.  Clay McCrea, Vineyard Manager (of the Mason vineyard), said, “The Pinot Grigio grapes are ripening up.  We will be about two weeks early for harvest also.”

Becker Vineyards is open 7 days a week, Monday thru Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday, Noon – 6 p.m.  For more information visit or

Nichole Bendele is Becker public relations director and tasting room coordinator.

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Gold & Silver: Becker Vineyards’ Winning Wines

One of the Texas Hill Country’s pioneering wineries, Becker Vineyards, has won two gold medals and a silver in the Fifth Annual American Fine Wine Competition.

The winery, located east of Fredericksburg off U.S. Highway 90, won a gold medal with its Chardonnay Reserve Hidden House 2010 and a gold medal for the its Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Canada Family 2009.

The silver medal winner was the Becker Claret 2009, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

The American Fine Wine Competition recognizes wineries who grow their grapes in American soil.  AFWC personally invites each participant to be judged by a panel of sommeliers, restaurateurs, wine educators, wine buyers, and wine writers.

“Any medal earned is well deserved and reflects a wine of excellence,” said Shari Gherman, president of AFWC, and Monty Preiser, chief judge. The competition was held earlier this year, and the AFWC gala, which presented wines from the competition, was April 19.

For a complete list of results from this competition, visit the website.


Becker Vineyards is located 11 miles east of Fredericksburg and 3 miles west of Stonewall, off US Hwy 290 at Jenschke Lane.  Business hours are Monday thru Thursday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Noon – 6 p.m.  Contact:  830-644-2681 or

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