The Supreme Expérimentateur
I headed out across the vast prairie on Highway 81 past Decatur in the region once dominated by this seemingly impenetrable forest. The land opened around me with only remnant fingers of dense Cross Timbers brush tucked into prairie folds, the last vestige of this barrier once called the “iron forest.” Hawks were positioned like sentinels atop the dense vegetation, scanning wide-eyed in search of their prairie buffet. I was on my way to visit with Les Constable—grape grower, winemaker, and owner of Brushy Creek in Alvord, Texas.
As we drove his golf cart into the vineyard, Les said, “These varieties of grapes do all right and make good wines,” he continued, “but it’s hard work for me. I’ve been looking for vines that in Texas with its heat and sun and that can still handle the freezes that burn us here.”
He readily admits to anyone and everyone that he’s made lots of mistakes in his vineyard, but he learned something important from every error. As we got still deeper into the vineyard, Les stopped again and looked out for a few moments. Pointing forward, he said, “Now, these vines are happy campers.”