The beginning of Chris and Crystal Grider’s love story has become the emblem for their fledgling vineyard south of Eddy.
The couple shared their first kiss in a hackberry tree on land owned by Crystal Grider’s family. The tree’s silhouette now stands as the logo for the Griders’ Kissing Tree Vineyards, which they started in 2014.
Now, after two years of successful wine sales at festivals and the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, the couple are ready to share their wares with a broader audience.
They will hold a grand opening for the Kissing Tree Vineyards Tasting Room on June 11-12 in a historic building on West Third Street in Eddy.
The event will run from noon to 8 p.m. June 11 and noon to 5 p.m. June 12. There will be live music and light hors d’oeuvres. Each attendee also will receive a wine glass.
Kissing Tree produces seven wines, including a popular cider, with more recipes to be revealed in the upcoming year.
“Our cider, we can’t bottle it fast enough,” Crystal Grider said.
The Griders met on the first day of high school in band class, for which they had both signed up to play saxophone. Crystal helped Chris learn the first few notes on his instrument.
“I didn’t know you were supposed to know how to play before you got there,” Chris Grider said. “I stayed in band the whole time because we were sitting next to each other.”
Their love for wine came later while living in San Antonio, when they learned about the fermenting process on their frequent trips to the Hill Country.
Crystal Grider said they fell in love with how wine provides community, and they began experimenting with home brews hoping to one day plant vines on her family’s land.
The couple moved to Dallas to attend Dallas Baptist University and stumbled into jobs working for a local winery.
The pair eventually became teachers but never lost their desire to start their own vineyard.
Some successful real estate investments allowed the couple to shorten their timeline for getting started.
“Our dream was always to come back out to her grandmother’s land and retire there and start a winery,” Chris Grider said. “Why wait to retire? Let’s do this now.”
It also wasn’t their plan to have a tasting room so soon, Crystal Grider said.
“The opportunity kind of arose for us because generally when you plant a vineyard, you have to wait awhile for the vineyard to become established and pretty,” she said.
Finding a suitable building near Interstate 35 allowed them to forgo a building project and open sooner.
The tasting room is the combination of three storefronts and a patio. Each section can be divided by doors and rented out individually for special events.
They plan to host live music regularly, sell cigars and transform a portion of the building into an art gallery.
Chris Grider said he hopes the new tasting room will attract travelers coming to and from the Hill Country.
“I want this to be the gateway to the Hill Country,” he said.
Kissing Tree Vineyards Tasting Room grand opening
When: Noon to 8 p.m. June 11 and noon to 5 p.m. June 12
Where: 109 W. Third St. in Eddy
More information: Visit kissingtreevineyards.com or call 214-862-7446