Really, you can buy wine here.

That’s the most common phrase Karen Eubanks says to customers who walk into Nashwood Winery in our neighborhood’s Preston Forest shopping center.

Eubanks and her husband, Steve, both tax accountants by day, opened the winery in May 2004, shortly after a change in Texas law that allowed wineries to operate in “dry” areas.

            “We were familiar with this area, having grown up here. We knew the law was changing. So we decided we had the opportunity to make it work,” Eubanks says. “But it wasn’t easy being the first one.”

            After a year of operation, Nashwood Winery — named after the street the couple lives on — is still the only winery in the area.

            But that doesn’t mean they’re reaping the benefits. Eubanks admits that people haven’t been lining up at the doors as she had hoped.

            “The big issue is the fact this is a dry area. Our biggest challenge has been to educate people that they can come in here and buy wine and take it home. It was a challenge we weren’t anticipating,” Eubanks says, pointing out they are in the middle of a five-mile radius that restricts liquor sales.

“But once people find out about us, they are thrilled we are here.”

            At Nashwood Winery, the couple makes, bottles and sells different kinds of wine on the premises, including Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and meritage wines, which are made from two or more grape varietals.

            The Eubanks make the wine in the fall (along with a volunteer crew of family members), after the grapes are harvested and delivered to the winery in 16 half-ton picking bins. Then, the grapes are shoveled into a motorized crusher and de-stemmer. The red grapes are immediately pumped into one of six 555-gallon, stainless steel tanks to ferment with the skins, which give the wine its color. Then they’re pressed and sent back to the tank. The white grapes go straight to the presser, then to the tank. After the wine is done aging — which took around seven months last year — it is bottled.

Last year, the winery produced 10,000 bottles of wine, and they are hoping to have about the same this time around.

“But that depends on Mother Nature,” Eubanks says, laughing.

            The winery also offers complimentary tastings, wine accessories — including home winemaking kits — and private tasting parties.

            Although nowadays you might say the Eubanks are quite knowledgeable when it comes to wine, that wasn’t always the case.

            “Before my husband and I met, he never drank wine,” Eubanks says.

            Then, four years ago, she bought him a home winemaking kit for Christmas.

“It was really out of the blue. I think he saw it on the Internet,” she says.

            “He entered into a competition, and he won a gold medal,” she says. “So he kept making it, and it kept winning, and people liked it.

From there, the hobby grew into the winery.

“It’s really a lot of fun to make. And I guess the reason we kept doing it was the fact that everybody kept liking it,” Eubanks says.

These days, the couple has 15 grapevines in their backyard. But, they say, there are no plans to start their own vineyard.

            “We decided to leave the farming to the farmers,” she says. “But we were able to make Dallas ’ first wine from Zinfandel grapes from our own back yard.”

            Right now, Nashwood Winery only offers commercially recognizable wines. That’s because the Eubanks are still trying to draw in customers — and keeping things simple seems to work better. 

            “One of the lessons we learned was when we were making wine at home,” says Eubanks, explaining that she and her husband made a wine out of fresh hybrid grapes (chardonel and chambourchin) from a small vineyard in Burleson.

“It was our best wine. But nobody knew what it was. So we were giving it away to family. Since then, we decided to stick with what people are familiar with.

            “But that’s not necessarily the best grapes that are grown in Texas. So we’ll probably branch out.”

 

For information about this neighborhood winery, visit nashwoodwinery.com.

 


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