Texas Hills Vineyard
Texas Hills Vineyard
Johnson City, Texas
Phone: (830) 868-2321
Contact: Gary Gilstrap
Texas Hills Vineyard has always championed environmentally correct ways and works to protect our environment by growing the vineyard in a sustainable organic fashion. This means that we use the least amount of chemicals as the Texas Hill Country will allow. We use turkey compost to fertilize and remove weeds with a mechanical devise called a "French hoe." We are occasionally forced to use a few fungicides, especially after the temperature reaches daytime highs over 90 degrees, and sulfur and copper — our natural fungicides — are no longer as effective.
Our winery and tasting room are as environmentally friendly as any building we could construct. They are, in fact, built from earth from our property with a technique formally called "rammed earth."
We dug down on our hillside location to hit solid rock on which we poured a concrete "stem wall," or footing, that was poured to a level of 18" above ground level. Forms were placed around the stem wall to the desired height (15' on the winery and 9' for the tasting room). The thickness of the wall is 24" — that's right full two feet thick. The winery has no windows and only two doors so little heat, or cold, can enter without a lot of effort.
The dirt has a little cement mixed with it and is wet just a little before being placed in the forms. Once the mix is in the forms the mixture is rammed, via pneumatic plunger, until solid. After the proper height was reached a 4" top plate is poured onto the wall to form a reinforced plate or "seal beam" that makes a platform on which to attach the rafters for the roof. Once the massive wall has "cured," or dried, it is rock hard and slows the thermal transfer of heat, or cold, making the cave excellent for the production and storage of our Texas wines.
We then added a roof, with tin on steal beams, insulated to an 'R' value of over 40. The insulation is a special product made of cement and water sprayed, under pressure, forming small bubbles that dry instantly making a very environmentally friendly insulation that really works.
The tasting room walls are only 18" thick, but as you come into our intimate surroundings we expect you will instantly note the quiet and friendly atmosphere created in our "cave above the ground." Even our floor is unique, with water being forced through pipes under the surface to help maintain a pleasant and even temperature. Our bar encourages you to stop and gather 'round to taste some Texas stars when it comes to wine.
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