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Up until a 2012 trip to Napa, California, Deanna and I were only occasional casual wine drinkers. Neither of us considered ourselves a wine connoisseur or even particularly knowledgeable about any aspect of wine or the wine industry. But, this long planned vacation trip to Napa was life changing for both of us and our family. A little background about the two of us helps to explain the why and how a vacation turned into another life chapter. Deanna and I are health professionals. Deanna is a registered nurse and I am an emergency physician. Both have backgrounds in science and have enjoyed working with others in our helping professions for many years.
During our trip to Napa, we explored vineyards, tasting rooms, wine production facilities, underground wine caves and the winery laboratories where the science of making wine is married with the creative art that is winemaking. In addition, Deanna showed herself to have uncanny talented wine palate. Needless to say, we were both bitten by the bug, and as they say, the rest is history. What is most fascinating to me is that we didn't even realize that the Texas wine industry had grown up in our backyard, the Texas Hill Country. So, for us, weekends became a chance to explore a new Hill Country winery or even make a trip to a more distant wine region. Our fascination with the wine industry blossomed and I completed the Viticulture & Enology Certificate programs through Texas Tech University, and Deanna completed the WSET, wine education program.
In the spring of 2014, we began preparing to plant our first vineyard. This was the beginning of Veraison Hills Vineyards. In 2015, we purchased the property that would became our primary vineyard in San Saba County near Pontotoc. Our first harvest was our 2016 Texas Hill Country Tannat. In 2017, Deanna and I began looking for a location to build a winery. By way of a chance encounter, we discovered a there was a small winery near Fredericksburg for sale. It perfectly fit our vision for what we wanted in a winery location. In June of 2018, Longhorn Cellars opened and sold its first bottle of wine. In August of 2018, Veraison Hills Vineyards harvested over 30 tons of Texas Hill Country wine grapes and Longhorn Cellars had it first crush of those estate wine grapes. And thus the adventure begins...
- Dr. Mike Dickey, owner