MILLERSVIEW - For Brenda Kowen, there are no sour grapes - just delicious and different grapes that make a variety of wines. Kowen is the new owner of Seifert Cellars and Wild West Vines located on Lake Ivie Road in Millersview.

MILLERSVIEW - For Brenda Kowen, there are no sour grapes - just delicious and different grapes that make a variety of wines. Kowen is the new owner of Seifert Cellars and Wild West Vines located on Lake Ivie Road in Millersview.

“We are a vineyard and a winery,” she explained. “And, in a good year, the wine is made and bottled here.”

Seifert Cellars and Wild West Vines began in 2005 as a dream of Darla and the late Dr. Steve Seifert who wanted to grow quality grapes and produce quality wine in the Concho Valley region of West Texas.

Brenda purchased the vineyard and winery in January and since then, she’s been learning as she goes. She has nine acres of grapes which is tended to by her assistant Wade Halfmann and her son Conner who takes weekends off from Texas Tech to come help her tend to the place.

And now, thanks to plenty of wine that has been made at the vineyard, she hosts tastings on weekends and is hoping more and more people will come to taste the fruit of the vines. She offers tastings and tours from Friday through Sunday each week if she is not traveling to festivals and events promoting the winery.

For many years the winery, like many others across the state, used grapes from elsewhere to make the wine.

After producing wine from other vineyards' grapes for a number of years, Siefert decided that he would try it on our own. Our first plantings of Lenoir Grapes, brought to Texas by Spanish Missionaries in the 1600's, gave us the confidence that our dreams could be realized on the shores of Lake Ivie.

There are currently nine acres under cultivation with well water drip irrigation, a vertical shoot position trellis system and a high fence surrounding the entire vineyard. For the last several years they have cultivated various grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Riesling, Syrah, Vermentino, Chenin Blanc, and Tempranillo.

Last year, was a year of learning for Kowen, who is the sole proprietor of the vineyard and winery. As a native of Napa Valley in California, she comes by her fascination with grapes and the growing of grapes honestly.

“I always loved gardening, and had an interest in botany,” said the graduate of California State University. She also sold real estate and flipped houses.

She said the cultivation of grapes in this part of Texas offers lots of surprises and challenges, including the usual suspects of predators (deer, rabbits, raccoons, birds), pests, grasshoppers, mold, herbicide drift and weeds. Then there is the weather (drought, hail, freezes), various labor issues, and of course the constant tractor and equipment malfunctions.

This year, it was the birds.

“My grapes got harvested by birds,” she said. “But I’m making lemonade out of lemons.”

She’s doing that by selling wine-making kits to customers. And, she’s hoping for a good crop this year so she can make some new wines to “take to local festivals and events.”

She’s also looking to sell some of the grapes she grows to other wineries.

Currently she is opening her doors or gates as it were, to visitors on weekends for tours and wine tastings, which she hosts from 1-8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. She will be open for special holiday tours and parties and she is in the process of putting together her "Wine Lovers Kits."

Some of the popular varieties include “Rain” a gold medal winner which won Best in Class-Sweet White at the 2011 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Wine Competition. Another favorite is the Cabernet Sauvignon, a bronze medal winner at the 2011 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Wine Competition. Other popular varieties include “Fiesta,” “Starlight” “Sunset” and Viognier. The winery is also endorsed by Go Texan.

Trish Tharp, a realtor who resides at Lake Ivie, has been taking clients and friends to Seifert Cellars for the past eight years. She actually sold the vineyard to Kowen in January. The winery had been on the market for two years.

“I think that Brenda is doing a great job and everyone who I have taken out there has always gone back,” Tharp said. “I just love showing people that there is something fun to do at Lake Ivie. Plus, the wine is absolutely delicious!”

For more information, visit the Seifert Cellars website at www.seifertcellars.com/