La Cruz de Comal produces only authentic Texas wines from Texas Hill Country grapes and provides real Texas Hill Country "terroir": 100% grape-grown estate; fermentation on wild natural yeasts – they have never had commercial yeasts on the estate; and no additives of vinegar, sugar, grape concentrate, tannins, chemical coloring agents or sulphites. Their passion follows the age-old idea of "regionality" in fruit, wine and agriculture. In a word, it's a real wine.
La Cruz de Comal is a partnership between two long standing colleagues, the California winemaker Tony Coturri and Texas lawyer and wine enthusiast Lewis Dickson. The two met in 1981 when Lewis was in Sonoma and sampled some of Tony's first commercially available 1979 vintage wine. The next day, Lewis called Tony, praised the wine, and arranged for a visit. They became really good friends, always keeping up with each other over the years, and Lewis, of course, always bought and enjoyed Tony's wines.
Lewis' curiosity and passion for wine persisted, ranging from owning part of a small winery called Felton-Empire in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California to traveling around the world of wine—Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. In the late 1990s, Lewis moved to France and lived in both Provence and Toulouse.
Upon his return from France in 2000, Lewis started planting the three-acre estate LD3 Ranch Vineyard. Initially, eleven different types of grapes were planted in order to see first-hand, that could survive without a 24/7 pesticide life support. After six years, the laws of natural selection clearly showed white grapes, white grapes, white grapes and red grapes, black grapes. Consequently, the vineyard was partly replanted and devoted to the two grape varieties. Meanwhile in 2001, Tony came to Texas to produce some precious barrels of natural wine from Texas Hill Country grapes.
Over the next ten years, Tony has made several trips to Texas, making wine his natural way, with grapes from our estate vineyard as well as a few other vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. Working alongside Tony, Lewis learned how to make Tony's way of wine: the normal way. By the way, in early 2018, Tony was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award in the Wine, Beer and Spirits Technical category of the year. Since 2011, all wines have been made exclusively from our grape-grown farm. In fact, using the estate Blanc du Bois and Black Spanish, Lewis produced eight entirely different styles of wine.
Where did the name of La Cruz de Comal come from? It is named after the cross of the old Mexican cemetery in the vineyard of the estate. In the mid-1980s, Lewis purchased a cross in San Antonio. As the tale is told, not far from Lake Chapala in a small village in Michoacan, Mexico, there lived a man who was deeply admired and respected by all. He was basically the mayor, the priest and the godfather of all the people in the village. When he died at the end of the 1800's, the villagers decided to lay a special cross on his grave. To that end, they handed over their comals or comalitos (iron utensils used to cook carnitas and heat tortillas) and the cross was thus made. In the early 1980s, the cross was vandalized and replaced by the owners. Having seen so many crosses in and around vineyards in Europe, Lewis decided to place the cross in his small vineyard. La cruz means "cross" in Spanish. It's just a coincidence that the vineyard is in Comal County, Texas, because the reference to comal has nothing to do with the location. Rather, it has to do with what is made of the cross and the message of devotion inside it. The name of the winery thus became La Cruz de Comal (the cross made of comals).
La Cruz de Comal became a Texas winery in 2004. The tasting room opened on the estate's vineyard in 2012.
San Antonio is blessed with some little-known but amazing wineries you shouldn’t miss:
These “hidden” wineries are located just down the street from our location at Marbach Road in the Rainbow Hills district of San Antonio. Stop by for a visit anytime!