“He (Hightower) was wonderful. That was the first time any state agency had given agriculture any attention, so it was incredible. I do believe we did some trips to either New York or Philadelphia. I need to sit with Bruce (Auden) and Robert (del Grande) and lean on their memories, go back and look at some photographs. He stirred up a lot of attention over Texas agriculture, Texas wine.”
Susan Auler is co-founder of Fall Creek Vineyards, which brought home one of the first Gold Medals for a Texas wine at a California competition. Susan and husband Ed realized that they needed to diversify out of cattle and planted some of the first vinifera grapes. Susan created the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, to turn the spotlight on Texas. She invited local vintners to offer tastings of their Texas wines paired with dishes from well-known Texas chefs. The festival also had a food fair, featuring different TDA (Texas Department of Agriculture) designated food producers.