Winter into Spring – Awakenings

As the Hill Country embraces an absolutely gorgeous debut of Spring this weekend, we took advantage of precious time and sunny days to work on an area of the Site that will soon be in play with our first customer event, coming up quickly on April 10-11 (as we write this, Tickets are available on the website at

After you drive through the front gate of our new site, you will presently see a stand of very large heritage live oaks – some as old as the Republic of Texas. Just a limestone’s throw from the Terrace Vineyard… this grove is perfect for greeting guests, organizing tastings, or hosting live music. While the trees did not completely escape the ravages of the Ice Storm of a month ago, damage to major branches appears to be contained. If you’ve noticed, many live oaks seem to be molting very aggressively this year. It’s as though the evergreen leaves gave their last ounce of energy to save the tree. The replacement buds are just emerging.

So what we have is something this grove hasn’t seen in an age — dappled sunlight to the forest floor. There are many years’ worth of fallen leaves in this grove, layer on layer. We spent hours removing and clearing around a few trees to see what was underneath, and we have uncovered beautiful Agarita and Blue Grama native grasses, ready to spring to life. So encouraged by this beautiful display of greenery on rich soil, we pushed forward to clear more. We might have a week or two of this dappled sunlight filtering through these oaks, and if we get a good rain, we just might regenerate even more beautiful native landscape.

Then we had the idea to define these areas with quarried limestone from the winery excavation. With literally thousands of bright limestone rocks to choose from, we pulled them by hand from piles. Transported then laid them down, creating three rings around several sets of trees. This will now define a walking path through the grove, as well as an area for guests to relax in the shade of true Texas Heritage Oaks. And to cap it off, we uncovered a beautiful fossil in one of the excavation areas, a bi-valve from 60 million years ago. Also known as a Texas Heart or a Deer Heart, it fits perfectly in the palms of both hands.

The significance of this is important for any winemaker. Even at 1500 feet elevation, the Texas Hill Country was once an ancient sea floor. With salt water and calcium forming the bedrock of limestone, the complexity of our terroir is further underscored. We now have yet another reason to cherish this opportunity to plant our vineyard in April. An awakening that begins the next chapter in the forever tale of this beautiful region of the world. This perfect fossil specimen will be on display in our wine cellar, a validation that everything we do is interconnected.

We move from winter into spring. We walk the eternal bridge linking past, present and future. Ancient limestone terraces. Heritage oaks. And soon, a new vineyard.

Read More

Siboney Cellars announces new Texas Hill Country winery site, partnership and expansion plans.

Have you heard the news? Siboney Cellars is coming to Wine Road 290 in the Texas Hill Country!

Yesterday, we announced a new partnership and the acquisition of a 52 acre parcel of land ideally suited for a full Texas Hill Country winery, production facility, tasting room and vineyards. The site is beautiful — a classic Hill Country property featuring a limestone plateau, rolling hills, heritage oaks, a fertile field, stepped terraces suitable for vineyard planting, and over 100 feet of elevation changes, rising to a plateau of 1500 feet.

The new home for Siboney Cellars Is the culmination of a long held vision, made possible by a new partnership we are very blessed to have, and a search that criss-crossed the Hill Country. It is ideally situated for our plans:

Location – With frontage directly on Wine Road 290, adjacent to Lewis Wines, the new home for Siboney Cellars is situated between Hye and Johnson City, continuing the development of the eastern corridor of WR290. We look forward to taking our place among the neighboring wineries in the area and participating as a 100% Texas house.

Vineyards – this site holds a promise for true Texas Terroir – a term we believe in when it is applied to an appellation or specific location. With limestone plateaus, north-facing terraces, and a soil structure that may prove favorable for vineyard growth, we are excited about the potential of estate wines.

Views – the limestone plateau rises 100 feet above the entry point on 290, and affords commanding views. We have many plans to share these views with you!

And the new partnership? We are delighted to introduce the Waldrips to the Texas Wine community, and over the next few weeks we will do exactly that. We met Bill and Mary Anne Waldrip at a wine writer’s event hosted at Boot Ranch in 2015 – one of many industry tours and events we have attended together. Mary Anne poured our first wine – the 2017 Coral Rosé, at the Texas Wine Revolution last year. And together, we have unlocked a mutual passion for creating a wonderful winery in the Hill Country. We can’t wait for you to meet them!

Needless to say, Barbara and I are over the moon! We just returned from our first 2019 trip to the High Plains and are excited about the this year’s vintage potential. With our collaboration at Hawk’s Shadow Winery continuing through 2019 and into 2020, the new partnership, and the new location coming to WR290, we can bring our vision into focus, put more quality grapes into Barbara’s capable hands, and put more Siboney wine into your own cellar. And as always, There’s a million things we haven’t done. Just you wait!! ~MRL

2018 #TxWine Growing Season Underway – Spring Report

As the growing season for the 2018 Vintage is ramping up, we traveled to the High Plains AVA with Doug Reed of Hawk’s Shadow Winery, and visited with our vineyard partners.  A brief report from Siboney Cellars, Miguel Lecuona:

Hill Country– On our way to the High Plains we visited Drew Tallent in Mason.  We checked on Drew’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, which we harvested last season and plan to follow up again for 2018.  Drew’s site is one of the premiere Hill Country vineyards, a sloping terrain with good drainage on granite and quartzite sandstone.  Drew has a long history of growing quality grapes for several wineries we admire, including Becker Vineyards and Lewis Wines.  We jumped on the opportunity to secure small parcels from relatively young vines so as to get a good read on what is possible from a Hill Country AVA for two of our long term favorite grapes. The Tempranillo looked to be pretty well balanced for fruit production and vine vigor, while the Cabernet shows a bit more fruit blossoms on the vine (which make for a wonderful aroma!).  We will monitor that and assess ways to reduce yield so all the fruit has a better opportunity to ripen fully within the growing season.

High Plains – So far, in the High Plains, 2018 has been quite dry, even by High Plains standards, and our vineyard checks confirmed this, particularly between the rows where cover crops have not rooted, and the soil looks quite thirsty!  That said, the first part of the spring growing season are favorable for many vineyard blocks, which came through a cold winter and avoided Spring Frosts.  Of course all eyes now look to the skies not just for beneficial rains, but for the potential for towering thunderstorms that bring the ever-present threat of hail.  Indeed, as soon as we left the High Plains, we encountered a spectacular storm in San Angelo, and rode the lightning all the way back home.  So it is touch and go over the ensuing days!  

  • Narra Vineyards — Our visit with Owner Nikki Narra on May 14-15 confirmed this weather pattern.  Happily, vine health and spring blooming look quite nice, progressing on track. While we were there, Nikki and her team were working on nutrient levels, irrigation management, and assessing potential cluster thinning.  We discussed the prognosis for 2018 for Viognier, and the potential for two varietals of interest to our expanding program — Sauvignon Blanc, and Tannat.  We are encouraged, and know with Nikki we are in strong hands and look forward to visiting her regularly to assess progress
  • Lahey Vineyards — we truly admire, and to be honest, are somewhat awestruck, by the size and scale of the operation at Lahey Vineyards.  With over 600 acres under vine, and managing more than 2 dozen varietals, Doug Fairbanks is one of the busiest in the industry.  We are working with a few blocks at Lahey – Syrah, and Bordeaux Red Varietals.  Doug also indicated a very dry spring in his vineyard, and is dodging storms while assessing early growth and blooming. 

    Miguel Lecuona
    SIboney Cellars