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A Historical Texas Landmark

It all began in 1851.

Carl Hilmar Guenther established a mill on the Texas frontier in 1851 that grew into one of the largest food processing companies in the nation, Pioneer Family Mills. The original Guenther Mill stood on the Invention Vineyards property, among where the vineyards are today, and the historic stone buildings near the entry were part of the family mill.

Guenther's Live Oak Mill

Carl Hilmar Guenther, master millwright, had completed his apprenticeship in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. In search of opportunities and a good grist mill site, he journeyed south from Wisconsin to New Orleans, and then west to Texas.

In 1851 he bought land and water rights on Live Oak Creek near Fredericksburg. After six months of construction, his mill was operational, but a flood destroyed the first dam. One month after the flood the mill was working again.

Ox-drawn wagons loaded with harvested crops converged on the mill in the mornings, and after the farmers’ business was completed the men visited with one another. The mill became a center of social life in the Hill Country community.

In 1859 Guenther chose a site about one mile from the center of San Antonio as a new site for his mill operation. Guenther Mills soon became Pioneer Flour Mills.

Today, A Bustling Production Winery

Today it houses a working winery, tasting room and 35 acres of vines.

Invention Vineyards utilizes a state-of-the-art wine production complex with crush, production, cellaring, and bottling areas.

Tours include a visit to our entire production complex. View our tank room, crush pad, and barrel cellar.

With the addition of Invention Vineyards, Heath Family Brands will produce 100,000 cases per year, with 20,000 produced on-site at Invention.

At Invention Vineyards, we operate a 25,000 sq ft. winery production facility, housing over 50 stainless tanks with 65,000 gallons of capacity, a full bottling line, and a 2000-barrel capacity cellar.

Heath Family Brands is one of the largest supporters of Texas grape growers and one of the state’s largest producers of Texas wines.

Winemaker: Jason Englert

Jason has been with Heath Family Brands since 2004, helping the wine program grow from 2500 cases at Grape Creek to 100,000 cases produced for Heath Family Brands.

Jason is the most decorated winemaker in Texas, having achieved more than one hundred 90+ scores and earning over 1000 medals from the most prestigious wine competitions in the country.

MEET THE OWNERS

Brian and Jennifer Heath have owned Grape Creek Vineyards in Fredericksburg, Texas since 2006.

They have planted estate vineyards, expanded and developed state-of-the-art winemaking facilities, and created an exceptional visitor experience at their “Tuscany in Texas” tasting rooms. In 2014, they purchased Heath Vineyards in the Paso Robles Willow Creek district, which has already yielded multiple 90+ point wines.

Additionally, they partnered with Stout’s Kitchens to provide an upscale, on-property restaurant overlooking the vines. They also opened tasting rooms in Georgetown, Texas, and downtown Fredericksburg to better serve the many Grape Creek Wine Club Members.

In 2019, construction was completed on Heath Sparkling Wines, the first winery in Texas dedicated to sparkling wines. The dramatic, modern architecture and unique wine presentation round out the experience of “One Wine Estate, Two Premier Wineries” for their guests and Members.

The exclusive and ultra-premium Jenblossom Cellars portfolio was introduced in 2022. The initial launch includes wine club subscriptions with plans for a tasting room to join the estate in 2024.

Most recently, they purchased Slate Mill Wine Collective, now Invention Vineyards. The Slate Mill staff you know and love will continue to serve you at Invention Vineyards, and all your favorite wines will remain available. The winery will remain open during updates and renovations, so come see us!

What’s next? Who knows, but we know something will always be on the horizon.