Jessica sits alone at her kitchen table sipping a cup of coffee, nursing a slight hangover, and trying not to relive the humiliation of the night before. The night began well enough. She met her good friend Josh at their favorite café, and had a lovely meal. After that, they walked to the local theater to catch a late showing of The Breakfast Club. Had they gotten to the theater one minute sooner or later, she would have avoided seeing B.B. with his wife.
Lover—I fear I have no love left for you.
Loony bin, nuthouse, funny farm, insane asylum, madhouse. These are just a few of the derogatory monikers given to psychiatric hospitals. In July of 2015, I was unfortunate enough to find myself in the back of an ambulance, tethered to a gurney, being transported to such a place. My crime was attempting to commit suicide by overdosing on opioids. My punishment was a court ordered 72-hour incarceration in the Spring Mountain Treatment Center of Las Vegas. Based on the name, it doesn’t sound all that bad. Let me assure you, there was nothing spring like or mountain like about this establishment.
There is a common debate among wine drinkers all over the world about which are the superior wines: Old World or New World. People will often voice their preference for one over the other. In fact, people who favor Old World wines are often condescending toward New World varieties. The current trend of wine connoisseurs is a preference for Old World wines as opposed to New World wines. This is due in part to the heritage, nostalgia, and romance associated with Old World wines. However, tastes change over time. It may not be long before people favor New World wines again as they did after the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” blind taste test that put California wines on the map. (For those not familiar with this reference, watch the movie Bottle Shock.)
During my quest to learn more about Texas wines, I picked up my Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil and turned to the section about Texas wine regions. MacNeil references the founders of Fall Creek Vineyards, Ed and Susan Auler, as being one of the first in Texas to elevate grape farming and winemaking to a serious endeavor. The Aulers were inspired to start their vineyard and winery in 1973 after they toured numerous vineyards in France. They noticed similarities between their ranch in the Texas Hill Country and the terroir of the French wine growing regions. Drawing on their inspiration and Texas ingenuity, Fall Creek Vineyards was planted in 1975 and was the first Texas Hill Country winery. After getting this fascinating glimpse into the history of Fall Creek, I decided to journey down to their tasting room in Driftwood, Texas. Driftwood is only 22 miles southwest of Austin in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
This past summer, I received an invitation to attend the 10-year anniversary party for two good friends of mine. They were hosting it at the Austin Winery, an "urban winery" and "tasting lounge" located in South Austin. I had never heard of the Austin Winery, and was immediately intrigued. I eagerly submitted my RSVP because let's face it — when someone invites me to a winery, I'm in! I was also researching Texas wines for a fiction novel that I recently became inspired to write. So, in the name of friendship and research, I made my way to the event.