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World travels inspires Torr Na Lochs, Hill Country's newest winery

Torr Na Lochs winery welcomed guests to its grand opening Sept. 12 at 7055 Texas 29 about six miles west of Burnet. The winery sits off the main highway with a view of Inks Lake to the west. The tasting room is open afternoons Thursday-Sunday. Go to torrnalochs.com or call (832) 606-7575 for more information. Staff photos by Jared Fields

BURNET — Blake and Karen DeBerry never set off to create a boutique winery overlooking Inks Lake on their Burnet County property. They bought the land with the idea of building their retirement home.

But sometimes life makes you ask, “What if?”

The DeBerrys, who opened Torr Na Lochs Vineyard and Winery in August, jumped into the endeavor because of a wine refrigerator in a home in which they were staying while living in Singapore. Blake works in the oil industry, and his job has taken the couple to several countries, including Scotland, from where their winery’s name comes.

“We really didn’t drink much wine, but we had this wine cooler and thought, ‘Why not use it?’” Karen DeBerry said. They started with New Zealand and Australian wines because those were most common in Singapore. They lived overseas for 10 years, including two stints in Singapore with a stay in Scotland squeezed in between.

They bought the Burnet County property in 2004 but had no vision of a winery there at that time. But during a vacation in 2011 to Australia, the couple visited the Cape Grace area of the country and stopped by a winery and vineyard.

“We were struck by how similar the land looked like ours here in Burnet County,” Karen said. They struck up a conversation with the winery owner and began to envision one for their property. But the DeBerrys didn’t have a winery and vineyard background.

Back in Texas, Karen enrolled in a viniculture program, and the idea of creating a winery and vineyard on their property began to become a reality. In April 2014, they planted several varieties of grapes on their acreage.

This summer, they harvested 6.8 tons of fruit.

“It was a great harvest for us,” Karen said.

Those grapes went into the winery’s facilities, and Karen is in the process of making wine from them.

But, of course, they needed wine before they opened the winery. So the DeBerrys connected with vineyards in the Hill Country and West Texas.

“They were willing to make wines to our specifications,” Karen said.

Right now, Torr Na Lochs offers three whites, a rose and five reds. While Texas wines are becoming nationally and internationally recognized, the DeBerrys aren’t eyeing a major operation but plan to remain more of a boutique winery.

“We want a winery where we can greet people and get to know them as they walk through our doors,” Karen said.

While selecting wines can be a complicated process, Karen said the best advice is just to keep it simple and don’t feel intimidated.

“The best wine is one that you like,” she said. “I think that’s one of the beauties of going to different wineries and attending their tastings. It’s a chance to taste several different varieties and try to find the ones you like.

“It’s personal,” Karen said of what wine a person might like. “So doing some wine tastings is a great avenue for finding one you like.”

Torr Na Lochs is located at 7055 Texas 29 west of Burnet. It’s open 1-5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 1-6 p.m. Saturdays. Along with tastings, the winery can serve as a wedding venue or place for smaller parties. Karen said they plan on Sunset Saturday events in the near future.

“We have a few things we’re looking at,” she added.

And the name Torr Na Lochs? Well, it comes from their stay in Scotland and loosely translates into “Hills over Lake.”

Go to torrnalochs.com or call (832) 606-7575 for more information.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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There are 1 comments.

Mark Trammell —
Hey Blake and Karen, Glad to see you living the dream. Maybe someday, Sheri and I can get by and say hello. PS: I started small batch beer and wine making this past year and love it. mtrammell@certex.com
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