cocktails & conversation
winemaker PENNY ADAMS
Winemaking isn’ta hobby. It’sa lifestyle. Story | ABBY WILSON
ike the grapes that produce her wine, Penny Adams always knew her future would come from the land. As a child, she was enamored by the rows and rows of majestic pecan trees near her DallasFort Worth home. That love of natural orderliness paired with her mother’s green thumb led Penny to a degree in Horticulture from Texas A&M and a Master of Science degree in Viticulture from California State University-Fresno. A 30-year veteran of the wine industry and the current master winemaker at Wedding Oak Winery, Adams produces drinkable, loveable and award-winning blends like her inventive Texas-inspired version of Spanish rioja, “Tioja,” made of tempranillo, mouvedre and cabernet sauvignon. She prefers bottling blends, using different varieties, or fermenting the same varietal multiple ways, to better express the grapes’ inherent qualities. Her wines undergo limited oak barrel aging—she prefers stainless steel tanks and new microoxidation techniques. “When I first started this, they said, ‘Stick to French-American hybrids. You can’t produce true European varietals here,’” she said. But as Texas’ first female wine master, Adams has never shied away from an obstacle. She chooses varietals she believes are bestsuited to Texas Hill Country’s terroir, such as grapes traditionally grown in France and Italy. “Trebbiano and Penny Adams go handin-hand,” she says of her signature varietal. The hearty white may not be as well-known as chardonnay and pinot grigio, but Adams’ combination of trebbiano and vermentino in her Bridal Veil blend is Wedding Oak’s most popular wine. “Winemaking isn’t a hobby. It’s a lifestyle,” Adams says. “I follow the grapes all year long, from the ground up.” From choosing the right plot of land for the vines to the moment the wine is ready to be bottled, Adams navigates every step of the journey. She describes her winemaking style as “clean and based on sound practices. I let the grapes speak for themselves.”
JULY/AUGUST • 2014
Published on Jun 30, 2014
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