To tourists barreling down Interstate 10 at 80 miles per hour, Fort Stockton is primarily a location to pick up gas and a fast bite to consume. Only the skilled eye would capture a simple structure about 25 miles east of town that was as soon as house toSte Genevieve Winery.
Built in between 1981 and 1984 on 1,300 acres owned by the University of Texas, Ste. Genevieve was a leader of the now-touted Texas red wine market. At one point it was the biggest winery in the whole Lone Star State, so huge that it bottled white wines for other little wineries and provided lots of East Coast dining establishments with their “home” white wines.
But on August 10, an online auction was held to liquidate all the fermentation tanks, winepresses, and bottling equipment to please a personal bankruptcy filing.
It’s an unfortunate end for the pioneering winery, specifically as Texas red wine is more popular than ever– the state has among the biggest red wine areas in the U.S. The closing has actually impacted partner wineries in Texas, along with the little neighborhood of Fort Stockton.
Ste Genevieve started almost thirty years ago with a not likely collaboration in between the University of Texas and a group of French and American business that saw chance in the Trans-Pecos
The University of Texas owns 2.1 million acres of land throughout nineteen counties inWest Texas About 190,863 acres remain inPecos County The university’s very first holdings were obtained in 1839 at the prompting of President Mirabeau Lamar when the Republic of Texas Congress reserved 220,000 acres for the endowment of a yet-to-be-established university. In 1876, another million acres was included, then a million more in 1883, for the Permanent University Fund (PUF). Several thousand acres have actually been rented to livestock ranchers, while the mineral rights provide a constant circulation of money to the PUF to fund college in Texas.
In 1981, in a transfer to diversify its earnings streams, UT partnered with the kept in mind French winery Domaine Cordier to plant the vines and build a cutting edge winery inPecos County To manage the operation, the university generated a group of French vintners who moved from the Bordeaux location to Fort Stockton.
They planted sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay grapes, ranges they believed would thrive in the Trans-Pecos when watered by a drip watering system. It wasn’t that improbable of a concept. Grapes were grown in Pecos County almost a a century previously, when vineyards were watered by watering canals from Comanche Springs.
So, led by the French, on UT land, a vineyard grew in the Chihuahuan Desert and grew to more than one thousand acres.
In pursuit of quality, Domaine Cordier demanded just the very best in every element of the operation, according to Jean-Michel Duforat, a previous staff member of the winery who offered a discussion aboutSt Genevieve’s history to the Fort Stockton Rotary Club inJune No cost was spared. Even the tile floorings were imported fromFrance While a number of the grapes were pushed in stainless-steel “crush pads,”Ste Genevieve likewise used rotary presses, which do not “press the grapes” as bladder presses do, however utilize the weight of the grapes falling on the sides to draw out the juices delicately without a great deal of tannins.
In 2005, the winery was bought byMesa Vineyards Eventually, a series of occasions, consisting of a late-April freeze in 2014 that erased the whole grape harvest for that season and the closures of dining establishments the winery dealt with due to COVID-19, caused tough times.
In January 2022, Mesa Vineyards applied for personal bankruptcy. The winery, as soon as valued at more than $9 million, was bought for $1.4 million by a liquidation business. Like lots of personal equity companies, it moved rapidly to disintegrate the possessions and offer them off one at a time. The August 10 auction gotten rid of the stainless-steel barrels, the bottling line, journalisms, andeven the tables and benches To rub salt in the wound, the auction happened online. You didn’t even need to be at the winery to put a quote.
“It is unfortunate to have actually experienced the decrease of the brand name,” stated Bénédicte Rhyne,Ste Genevieve’s wine maker from 2003 to 2019 and the existing wine maker of Kuhlman Cellars inStonewall “I believe the winery assisted put Texas on the map. For myself, I feel incredibly happy that I contributed my understanding and experience to the winery as the wine maker for sixteen years. I delighted in dealing with the group, and when I left, it was a bittersweet minute, as I might see the composing on the wall.”
Businesses stop working every day, however for lots of Fort Stockton locals, the death ofSte Genevieve injures. It offered the town a particular prestige in an area understood more for fracking and livestock ranching. The Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce even utilized to lead trips of the winery in a Roadrunner bus.
“Ste Genevieve was a steady organization in Pecos County that added to the economy for several years,” Pecos County Judge Joe Shuster stated. “I remain in hopes that some other group will be available in to resume it.”
That might be a difficult sell, due to the fact that the vineyard hasn’t been tended or watered given that the personal bankruptcy. The just residue of what was as soon as a happy winery is its previous tasting space, the Grey Mule Saloon, situated in downtownFort Stockton After the personal bankruptcy filing, the City of Fort Stockton reclaimed the structure. It has actually now resumed as the Grey Mule Wine Saloon, with Duforat running it. You’ll discover numerous white wines offered there, however just a handful ofSte Genevieve white wines stay.