Nestled on the hillside at 301 East Highway 190 in Richland Springs,Texas was the Grand Opening of a new business in this small Hill Country town on Thursday, July 2nd. Rising Star Vineyards opened it’s Tasting Room & Gift Shop with door prizes and free tastings of their award winning wine on the July 4th weekend.
Michael and Vicki Oubre are the owners of Rising Star Vineyards. It has been ten years since the grapevines were planted, so the business has been anticipated for a long time. The vines, around 5 acres, look healthy and green, but sadly, there are no clusters of grapes this year because of hail and frost.
Their vineyard in Rising Star, Texas was started in the mid 80’s and was also hit by hail and frost. However, they will have at least half of the crop, 25 acres producing a crop this year.
The vineyards are watered by a timing system and are hand pruned, starting in December and ending in April. Harvest time is usually around August when they are hand picked. The wine industry generates a yearly income of 1.3 Billion dollars in Texas.
The wine grapes are smaller and sweeter than the table grapes. The red wines are put in barrels for two plus years before bottling. The white wines are not barreled but kept for eight to 18 months before bottling. Then, the longer the wine is in the bottles, the tastier the wine.
Michael entered their Merlot wine in competition at the Lone Star International Wine Competition and won a bronze medal in May 2009 where there was over 500 entrys.
The Oubre’s live in Pflugerville which is a three hour drive to the Rising Star vineyard and one hour and 45 min. to Richland Springs. Vicki grew up in Richland Springs. Her brothers, Troy and Roy Shannon and their wives attended the celebration.
Michael was born in Harlingen, Texas and met Vicki when they were working for the same company in Austin. They have been married 26 years and have one daughter.
Michael has been employed by Dell as a computer professional for 36 years in Round Rock, Texas.
In 1974 Michael learned about winemaking from a text book at the University of California in Davis, California and it made such an impression that his vision has become a reality and getting a bronze medal at competition was a great reward.
A.J. Sewell of Richland Springs takes care of the local vineyards and also helps at Rising Star. Dale Wolf takes care of the vineyards at Rising Star and lives nearby and helps at Richland Springs.
Participating in the ribbon cutting were the owners; Dale McKinnerney, Mayor of Richland Springs; and Walter Stratton, Councilman of Richland Springs.
Guests enjoyed refreshments and wine tasting. The refreshments were prepared by Vicki, and she will be taking reservations for receptions, parties and reunions.
Mayor McKinnerney addressed the group and stated that the community has been looking forward to this event for a long time. He welcomed them to the community, that they may have a very successful business. Out of town guests were: Dale & Kathy Wolf from Rising Star and Dee Daniels from Brownwood. Local guests were: Troy & Paula Shannon, Press & Bobbi Adams, Dale & Terry McKinnerney, Walter & Arlene Stratton, Carroll & Kathy Stratton, Roy & Winnie Shannon, AJ & Lanell Sewell and Alice Smith, San Saba News & Star Reporter.