Texas wineries account for just a small portion of US wine sales, but a couple of Houston entrepreneurs are trying to carve out a nice portion for themselves.Partners Ian Eastveld and Ryan Levy sold their Dallas restaurant five years ago to start making wines that paired perfectly with food.Rather than buy a whole winery, they've leased portions of vineyards in California and Argentina to take advantage of grapes for popular Malbec and Cabernet wines.Eastveld said they produce the vino on-site."We show up for harvest; We bring in the grapes; We sort the grapes; We participate in ‘crush' ... then we're there to put everything in barrels and we start the fermentation process," Eastveld said.Levy admitted it was all quite a gamble before they started selling two years ago."You've got to invest in the grapes, in the barrels and age the wine for three to four years and then, after writing checks for three to four years, you finally get to sell bottle number one."The Nice Winery won a gold medal at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with its first vintage of Cabernet.The partners hope to find vineyards in France and Italy, in the coming years, to expand their product line.
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