Wine festival offers hope to wine maker

Herald/Steven Doll - Bella Wiatrek of Harker Heights gets a sample of wine from Craig Gentch, sales manager for Pillar Bluff Vineyard, while at the second annual Central Texas Food and Wine Festival Saturday at the Harker Heights Community Center. -

By Philip Jankowski

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS - For Jon Moore, the Central Texas Food and Wine Festival was a chance for him to attract attention to his Salado Creek Winery when it desperately needed it.

His winery, located near Salado Creek in Salado, was destroyed this week when the creek flooded as a result of remnants from Tropical Storm Hermine.

"You're looking at my whole winery right here," Moore said, gesturing to several coolers containing bottles of sweet white and red wines he sold Saturday.

Several area wineries from Georgetown to Lampasas were on hand for the wine tasting along with crafts, food and live music.

The Fort Hood Culinary Arts Team also offered classes teaching people about food carving and cupcake decorating among other offerings.

But the wine was the star of the show. People walked from tent to tent having their glasses filled with a splash of several local wines.

Bottles sold by the half dozen.

Dan Marek, owner of the Georgetown Winery, said the event offered exposure of his wine to another part of Central Texas.

"We're trying to get visibility and let people know we're in Georgetown," he said.

Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce President Bill Kozlik said the event was about exposure for Harker Heights as well.

"You don't have to travel to Austin, Dallas or San Antonio," Kozlik said. "It's all right here."

The event does not mark the end of Moore's winery, Moore said. The Georgetown Winery has stepped in to let Moore and his wife, Dottie, continue to create wine at Marek's winery, located in downtown Georgetown.

Moore said he will reopen his winery eventually.

"We'll just have to find ourselves a better spot," he said. "We won't be in the flood zone this time."

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