Texas Grown, Texas Made Wines, Ranch Designs

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Above: Tiny grapes emerge on the Cynthiana vines at Chris Hornbaker’s sustainable vineyard, a new no spray vineyard using sustainable practices. The vineyard ranch home was designed by Steve Chambers, AIA, Dallas, Texas. All photography credit: Stephanie Chambers, Chambers Architects

Eden Hill Vineyard and Winery: New Texas Ranch Home by Chambers Architects

“Architecture leaves man’s mark on nature and has obligations in its resistance to the land. It should be consciously bound, stressing certain site-specific factors, ranging from topography, light, surface, and structure. The earthwork ties the architecture to nature by taking root in the landscape and grounding a place. The framework embraces man, enclosing a place and allying itself with the human scale.  Mary Frances Keenan, Virginia Tech, on Winery Architecture

Chris Hornbaker’s sustainable vineyard in Collin County County, where the ranch home design is by Texas architect, Steve Chambers, AIA. This view reminds us of the countryside in Tuscany. All blog photo credits: Stephanie Chambers, Chambers Architects, Inc.

In 2003 Linda & Clark Hornbaker purchased ten acres of open pasture forty-five miles north of Dallas in Collin County, near Celina, Texas. From a hill overlooking the rolling countryside, Linda saw it as the family’s “Garden of Eden” and named it Eden Hill.  It had good soil with a limestone base and was bordered with trees – the perfect terroir for a vineyard.

Around the same time, their son, Chris Hornbaker, was making wine from pears in his kitchen.

The family gathered often to enjoy his wine, and realizing they shared a common passion, decided to join efforts to create a commercial vineyard and winery. Linda and Clark studied how to grow grapes, viticulture. Chris decided to study oenology, best practices for making wine, at Grayson County Community College, where he’s completing a T. V. Munson Viticulture and Oenology degree.

They developed a master plan and began building on Eden Hill in 2006. Clark and Linda moved onto the estate in 2007. Vineyard plantings began in 2008, followed by their commercial wine license in 2010. Eden Hill produced its first commercial bottle of wine that year. All of their wines are made from grapes grown in Texas and have won top awards from around the country.

Red wine grapes, Cynthiana, native to Virginia, are bold and dry. Naturally resistant to mold and mildew they were grafted to Texas rootstock that grows well in clay soil. First bottle will be available by 2018.

Chris Hornbaker Eden Hill’s oenologist and Texas architect Steve Chambers discuss siting of Chris’s future home on his vineyard.

The House

Chris Hornbaker’s plans for a sustainable vineyard:

*own source of water (rainwater collection system from barn roof runoff)

*solar power

*no insecticides or fungicides

*use mold and insect resistant grapes developed by Texas A&M

One of several conceptual sketches for Chris Hornbaker’s ranch home at his sustainable North Texas vineyard takes advantage of the 360-degree views of the rolling hills of Collin County.

Chris has said of the plans for his house: The design looks fantastic! Thank you so much, Steve, for working through these changes with me.  I know I’ve had a lot of revisions, but having the freedom to explore the architecture with you was invaluable and helped me to realize the concept, and make it a reality soon. This experience was well worth the time and energy we put into it together.

How Thomas V. Munson of Denison, Texas, Saved the Wines of Europe

Pruning, training, and tying of the fruiting canes make a big difference in overall yield from these Tempranillo grape vines.

In 1880, the vineyards of France were on the verge of destruction from the phylloxera root louse. The grapevine plague was spread throughout Europe, and in the Charante Region of France (Cognac) in particular. With their economy at risk, France selected French scientist Pierre Viala to find a cure for the plague. Viala’s search lead him to Denison, Texas and scientist Thomas Volney Munson. Viala and Munson studied the native grapes of Texas. Because the soils of the Charante and Denison are very similar, and Munson knew the Texas rootstock was resistant to phylloxera, Munson suggested that the only way to save the French vineyards was to graft the Texas rootstocks with the French vines. Viala agreed and thousands of bundles of Texas rootstocks were shipped to France to be grafted with the French vines. The grafting continues to this day. Grape Man of Texas is the first biography of Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913), the internationally recognized horticulturist who developed over 300 new varieties of grapes, some of which are still grown today on almost every continent.

To find more information about the vineyard and their wines, contact Eden Hill Winery: http://www.edenhill.com/Contact-Us

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