Ed Auler, who is widely credited with bringing legitimacy to Texas wines, has died. The founder of Fall Creek Vineyards in Tow, Texas, was 78.
A grqaduate of the University of Texas Law School, Auler was looking at ways to use the family ranch, and was considering importing French cattle to crossbreed in Texas. In 1973 , Auler and his wife, Susan, traveled through France. They did look at a cattle operation, but most of their time was spent falling in love with the wine regions of France.
When they returned to Texas, they started studying how to best grow French grapes in Texas. In 1975, the planted their first vineyard,, and in 1979, started a winery in a garage. Four years later the winery moved from the renovated garage to its current location in Tow.
Auler was one of those who lobbied the Texas legislature for the right to make wine anywhere in Texas –- as long as it was sold in wet areas where it was legal to sell alcohol. He also was among those who pushed legislation permitting wineries to sell their wines onsite.
He was key to establishing the Texas Hill Country AVA, and in 1986 in creaing the Hill Country Wine & Food Festival which helped establish Texas's reputation as a wine-growing region.