History of Fall Creek Vineyards




(l-r) Sergio Cuadra, Susan and Ed Auler (Photo courtesy of Russ Kane, VintageTexas.com)

Ed and Susan Auler took a trip to France in 1973 to look at some of the French breed of cattle for potentially crossing with their Angus herd in the Hill Country. This trip dramatically changed their lives. Ed was practicing law and had taken over the operation of his family’s Hill Country ranch, and he wanted to consider ways to upgrade his ranching operation to enhance its profitability.

Susan was interested in seeing the major wine regions in France, as they had developed an interest in wines. They did visit a French cattle operation, but the bottom line was that they spent 19 days of that trip enjoying the French wine country from Reims to Burgundy to Rhone across the south of France to Bordeaux and Loire and only 2 days looking at cattle! They both rapidly gained an education and appreciation of French wines, foods and culture.

Within 2 years of that trip in 1975, the Aulers had put in a test plot on a corner of their Fall Creek Ranch to experiment with winegrowing at the encouragement of Texas A & M and Texas Tech Universities. That test plot grew from ¼ acre to 7 ½ acres in 1980, and Ed decided to give up his law practice. The Aulers began purchasing 400 acres along the west side of Lake Buchanan which would become the home of Fall Creek Vineyards. So, a chance trip to France changed Ed’s professional focus from law and ranching to wine growing.

Ed and Susan Auler, founders of Fall Creek Vineyards in 1975, have worked ardently the past 40+ years to build a viable Texas wine industry and have been called “the First Family of Texas Wine”. Ed received the 1989 Louis F. Qualia award for outstanding contribution to Texas Wine industry, Texas Wine & Grape Growers Merit Award, and he and Susan were named Who’s Who in Food and Wine in Texas, “People of Vision” by the Texas Society to Prevent Blindness, recipients of the “Spirit Award” at SAVOR DALLAS, and Colorado River Foundation “Service” award. Susan was recognized by “Wines & Vines” magazine as one of the top 50 people in the wine world and was runner-up “Business Woman of the Year” for Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

In the mid-1980s the Aulers looked to Napa and Sonoma for wine expertise by consulting with U.C. Davis professors, California and French winemakers, and Andre Tchelistcheff as their initial wine consultant to Fall Creek Vineyards. Susan and Ed founded the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival in 1986 to publicize the Texas Hill Country as a known wine region, and Ed’s application to the U.S. government for the Texas Hill Country appellation was granted in 1990. This identified the Texas Hill Country region as a recognized and respected viticultural region, already a natural tourist attraction with beautiful hills and lakes, golf courses, acclaimed chefs, and now world-class wines.

In 2013, the Aulers’ commitment to growing world-class wines at Fall Creek Vineyards took a giant leap, when Paul Hobbs recommended Sergio Cuadra, a highly successful Chilean winemaker with a global perspective as a great choice for becoming Director of Winemaking s at Fall Creek. Sergio and the Aulers are in lock-step in their goals to “Premium-ize” Texas wines with FALL CREEK Vineyards leading the way. With Sergio’s proven expertise, 20 years of experience and dedication to making great wines that just happen to be from Texas, he has dispelled many of the myths for growing grapes in Texas, which has allowed him to focus on matching the right grape variety to the wonderful variety of limestone soils that are plentiful in the Texas Hill Country.

Additionally, Phil Price joined FALL CREEK Vineyards as Assistant Winemaker, February, 2016. Price holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and a Master’s Degree in Agriculture (Enology and Viticulture) from California Polytechnic State University, where he also taught viticulture courses. He has a great passion for crafting world-class wines and brings a wealth of experience to the vineyard. His most recent winery position allowed him to work with one of the world’s top winemakers, Philippe Melka, on his vineyard designate wines as well as those of BRAND Napa Valley, which receive top marks from Robert Parker.

In celebration of the 40th year since Ed and Susan Auler planted their first experimental vineyard in the Texas Hill Country at Tow, the much-anticipated new 2nd winery location, FALL CREEK Vineyards at Driftwood location opened January, 2015. Located on FM 1826, Driftwood, Texas, the winery sits on 17 acres directly across the road from the entrance to the legendary Salt Lick BBQ and Salt Lick Vineyards, which is home to a significant portion of grapes destined to be Fall Creek Vineyards wine. Vineyards will be planted on a portion of the new Fall Creek winery at the Driftwood location, as Sergio continues to carefully match the grape to the terroir and take Fall Creek Vineyards wines to world-class status.

Fall Creek Vineyards received the “Recommended by Trip Advisor” award designation in 2012. Fall Creek Vineyards wines have been honored to be served at 4 Presidential Inaugurations, at the Texas Governor’s and Speaker of the House’s special functions, state dinners for Prince Charles, President Vicente Fox of Mexico, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and the Premiere of China.