464 Becker Farms Road
Stonewall, Texas 78671
About Becker Vineyards
“We were looking for a log cabin to renovate,” said Bunny Becker, co-proprietor of Becker Vineyards, when asked how they got into the Texas wine industry.
“Fredericksburg is a charming town. We enjoyed coming up to visit and searching for antiques. We thought it would be fun to have a weekend get-away in the Hill Country,” she said.
She and her husband, Dr. Richard Becker, began looking for a few acres with a log cabin on it. They did come across a larger piece of property with one on it.
What to do with more property?
Along with antiquing, the Beckers enjoyed visiting the local wineries. Richard said, “We thought we could plant some grape vines and start a commercial vineyard.”
“We always grew successful gardens and knew we had a green thumb,” chimed Bunny.
Located between Fredericksburg and Stonewall, Becker Vineyards was established in 1992.
The vineyard was planted on a site of native Mustang grapes much prized for winemaking by German neighbors and their ancestors. A few years later the Beckers planted a three acre lavender field reminiscent of the wine country of Provence, France.
The 46 acres of French Vinifera vines generate 14 different available varietals, including Syrah, Petite Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
“We planted the vines with the help of our friends and our sons, Will and Joe, ” mentioned Richard. “And our general manager and his father-n-law, also planted.”
“At noon we enjoyed a picnic with everyone and then continued planting the remainder of the vines,” remembered Bunny.
The vines are planted in a mixture of deep sand and Precambrian granitic soils at 1,500 feet above sea level. The vines are watered with water welled from limestone formations 300 feet beneath the surface. A drip irrigation system is employed throughout the vineyard.
Becker Vineyard’s first harvest was in 1995.
“It was very exciting! We felt like we had been transplanted to France. It was almost hard to believe we were harvesting grapes our very own grapes – it takes three years for the vines to produce fruit,” smiled Bunny.
Most vintages are aged in new French oak, others in new American oak, and stored in the underground wine cellar and barrel building. Peach peach orchards, fields of native wildflowers and lavender surround the winery. Wine storage capacity is 64,000 gallons and fermenting capacity is 35,000 gallons.
The 10,040 square-foot winery is located in a 19th-century German stone barn reproduction based on those the Beckers saw in the Hill Country. The Tasting Room is in the front part of the winery. It opened in June 1996.
“I put in as many antique windows as I could find for the Tasting Room,” said Richard. “The natural light is beautiful in there.”
A large working stone fireplace graces one wall and an antique bar is against another. The bar and back drop is originally from the Green Tree Saloon, established in San Antonio during the 19th Century.
“Did you hear about a Fredericksburg festival (in the late 1800s) running out of beer one night?” asked Richard regarding some local history. “Apparently there was no beer to be found in Fredericksburg. Several local Germans made a run to the Green Tree Saloon to bring more barrels of beer to the festival.”
The Beckers also researched where the bar and backdrop were produced. It was made at the August Kerns Supply Company in St. Louis, Missouri in the mid-1800s. The bar is made of long leaf red pine and ceiling tin panels. The backdrop features are Moravian design.
The Tasting Room is decorated with arts and crafts by local artisans and with antique pie safes and armoires found in the Fredericksburg area.
The Becker Vineyards wine labels feature the artwork of the late Tony Bell, a dear friend of Dr. Becker. The two grew up together in Abilene, TX, and both attended the University of Texas. The “Tree” label is a watercolor painting of a tree from Bell’s backyard in Austin, TX. The “Iconoclast” label is a self-portrait of the artist painted on a brown paper sack; and the “Tavern” label is a woodblock print the artist made of The Friendly Tavern in Austin, TX.
“Tony was an ‘iconoclast’,” said Richard fondly. ” He won the Fisher Auto Body Contest as a teen. He designed the Bat Boat in the original Bat Man series starring Adam West. If you look at the rudder (of the boat) – I worked on the rudder.”
“He also signed his income tax return occupation as ‘Wizard’ and never got questioned,” added Richard laughing.
Adjacent to the winery is a log cabin built circa 1890. Along with the milk house, corral and hand-dug water well, the cabin recreates the original homestead. The log cabin’s renovation was completed in August 1997 and named The Homestead Bed and Breakfast. The Beckers closed the B&B (August 2011) and use it in conjunction with the weddings held in the reception hall.
In February 1997, the Beckers purchased the old Bluebonnet Hills Vineyards in Ballinger, Texas. This 29 acre vineyard produces 8 different varieties of grapes including Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Scheurebe.
In 1998 the Beckers planted three acres of lavender behind the winery. The varieties planted include lavandula x intermedia provence, lavandula x intermedia grosso and lavandula angustifolia. Becker Vineyards makes potpourris, sachets, soaps and oils from the lavender. These products are for sale in the Tasting Room and Gift Shop.
In the spring of 2001, Becker Vineyards added 10 acres to their front vineyards. (The front vineyard now has 21 acres of grapevines, while the older vineyard in the back has 25 acres of grapevines. Total acres of estate grapevines are 46 acres.)
The new reception hall — The Lavender Haus – was completed in October 2003. Located near the winery and bed & breakfast, The Lavender Haus is a replica of a barn at the LBJ Settlement (maintained by the LBJ National Park Service) in Johnson City, TX. The reception hall is used for wine dinners, festivals, luncheons, birthday parties, weddings, and more.
Becker Vineyards is open for tasting, tours, wine gift purchases, and picnics.
“We invite you to join us on the porch during spring and summer or by the hearth of an open fire during the winter in the tasting room. We also host many events throughout the year that we encourage you to attend,” invited Bunny.