Forward- Focused Wedding Oak Winery a draw in historic San Saba

17th Dec 2015 @ 13:38 by Mike

"Although San Saba might call itself the pecan capital of the world, one resident of the small Hill Country town wants it to be known for wine, too.

Viticulturalist Mike McHenry — who retired to the area and started growing grapes here after buying 115 acres in the late 1990s — opened Wedding Oak Winery in downtown San Saba in 2012, hoping the tasting room and production facility would help revitalize the town.

Making sure the winery, tucked into a restored 1926 stone building, stays in touch with San Saba’s historical side is important to McHenry — he’s learned all the local legends and stories that have been passed down over the years, including one about San Saba’s greatest unsolved mystery involving a shopkeeper named Marie.

Of course, Wedding Oak Winery wouldn’t be so successful today if it didn’t take a forward-looking approach to winemaking. That’s where Wedding Oak’s winemaker Penny Adams, a longtime force in the Texas wine industry, comes in. She’s been growing grapes off and on since 1979, even before graduating with a horticulture degree from Texas A&M, and was the Hill Country’s viticulture adviser with the Texas AgriLife Extension until state budget cuts eliminated her job.

A Texan who spent childhood summers at her grandfather’s farm north of Lubbock, Adams knows her deep love of plants is in her blood.

Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba makes an array of red, white and rosé wines that visitors can sip on in.

“'My granddad had five rows of grapevines planted along with his cherry trees, apple trees, peaches and apricots and other things, although he was actually more into raising hogs,” she says. “So I was always influenced by the farming mentality and the sight of nice, neat rows. I spent so much time under this beautiful arbor of grapevines that was kind of hidden away on the side of the house.'”

By Arianna Auber - American-Statesman Staff