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A Visit to Casa Vindemia

Wimberley shop owner channels the oldest winery in the Western Hemisphere and fulfills a dream.

Wimberley is a small city situated on the junction of the Blanco River and Cypress Creek, just under an hour’s drive southwest of downtown Austin in the Texas Hill Country. It is a place of exquisite natural beauty, unique shops and restaurants, a thriving visual and theatre arts community, and a deep bench of talented writers, musicians, and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Knowing all this, it still came as a surprise to learn that Wimberley is home to a wine store—Casa Vindemia—that traces its origins to the oldest winery in the Western Hemisphere, the storied Casa Madero, which began operations in 1597 in the town of Santa María de las Parras (Holy Mary of the Vines) in the Mexican state of Coahuila.

Casa Vindemia (Vintage House) was founded by Nancy Sallaberry, whose great-grandfather, Lorenzo, was born at Casa Madero and spent his life there as a field worker. Though ultimately Nancy’s family moved to South Texas, they made frequent trips back to Parras to visit relatives, where Casa Madero brandy and wine were frequently served in the home.

After graduating from high school, Nancy took a job as an international flight attendant for a private airline based in Chicago. That job entailed frequent trips to Europe, where she explored wines from across the world.

Nancy’s travels eventually led her to California where she enrolled in a Wine Studies program at College of the Canyons in Valencia, California. There she met her mentor, who had a two-acre vineyard in his backyard and who frequently hosted tastings for students. During these visits, Nancy first learned about the difficulties small growers face in entering the wine market. She resolved then and there to open a wine store focusing on small producers.

Around this same time, Nancy had been thinking of returning to her home state. She felt that California was just not the right market for what she had in mind. In the summer of 2014, Nancy moved to Central Texas where she began to pursue her dream of opening a boutique wine shop.

It took over a year of searching for a suitable location, but in January of 2016, Nancy spied a row of shops with “for lease” signs amid the rubble left by the October 30, 2015 Cypress Creek flood in Wimberley. Some 10 inches of rain had fallen that day in the Cypress Creek watershed, and all the properties lining the creek on the Wimberley square had been destroyed and were not going to be rebuilt. The shops just across the way on higher ground were still standing, though they had also been damaged by flood waters. Nancy realized that once the demolition of the low-lying shops was complete and the debris cleared, the higher ground locations would have unobstructed views of Cypress Creek. She had found the perfect location for Casa Vindemia.

The store opened in May 2016, and true to Nancy’s vision, the shop focuses exclusively on wines from small producers across the globe. Current offerings include wines from France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Chile, Argentina, California, the Pacific Northwest, and Texas. Casa Vindemia also retails wine accessories and one-of-a-kind gifts. Nancy plans to offer wines by the glass in the future. For now, shoppers can buy a bottle to enjoy creekside in the shade of ancient, majestic Cypress trees.

In addition to her wine studies, Nancy is a member of the Wine Spirits Education Trust, certified Level 2 and holds certificates from the International Wine Guild and Court of Masters, Level 1, as well as, a Bachelor of Arts in Media Relations from DePaul University, Chicago.

Nancy and her family live in Wimberley where they enjoy tranquil, small town country living.

Casa Vindemia is located at 14015 Ranch Rd. 12 Unit 14, Wimberley, TX 78676 and is open Wednesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. (noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays). Visit them online at www.casavindemia.wine.

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About the author:

Cynthia Spanhel is a member of the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. She lives on a farm in Driftwood, Texas, where she raises goats, horses, chickens, and bees.