In 2016, I moved into a cute townhome in the heart of Houston. As an extreme extrovert, what better way to move into a new place than to invite people over for a Housewarming Party? 

 

Friends splashed in the pool, good food was devoured, gift cards showered the table and bottles of wine lined the new bar. Unfortunately, wine was not a favorite of mine, so they were displayed as pieces of art instead. 

 

About two years later, my husband and I eventually tried a few of the bottles gifted by our friends. Most of them poured down the drain because they were bitter, acidic or made my face pucker in awful ways. 

 

One evening we popped open a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. The label was cream and had a beautiful crest on the front. The word, “Gadela” in a cursive font hinted of its playful taste. Daniel poured himself a glass and gave me a sip, knowing he would be polishing off yet another bottle alone.

 

We were both wrong. 

 

“This is the one! Oh my, this is delightful!”, I stood up and exclaimed.  

 

Surprising us both, Dan poured me a full glass and we finished off the bottle later in the evening. We began looking for this bottle online but for months, we could not find anything about the winemaker. My husband and I searched high and low. We went to grocery stores, spoke to wine vendors at local shops and desperately called our friend Marcela, who gifted me the wine. Unfortunately, she had forgotten where she acquired the bottle. A couple of months turned into years and over time, we gave up. 

 

In September 2017, I took a leap of faith and looked up Gadela once again. This time I found an email address. It did not seem promising, but I emailed a gentleman named Franco one Friday night.

 

Again, there was silence. 

 

Two months later in November, I received an email from an unknown email address, but the subject line said, “Re: 2013 Sauvignon Blanc”, a line I had not forgotten.

 

Franco mentioned he had the wine we were searching for, but it would not be ready for another two months.

 

And two months later, he was sold out again!  Fortunately, he had expected the opening date for his winery to be in December.

 

But, it was not. 

 

Another year passed by.

 

 

Franco and Brenda began their journey shortly after Franco lost his job as an IT Software Engineer. In light of this terrible news, they joined some friends for a gathering where he brought a few bottles of his newly created and packaged wine. The friends all enjoyed their meal and ultimately popped the cork on the wine. The owners raved about this new wine and urged Franco to tell them where he purchased it. 

 

“I made it.” Affirmed Franco. 

 

Throughout the night, his friends begged for him to tell them the truth and after Franco showed them the custom label, they realized he was in fact, telling them the truth. 

 

And my dear Marcela, was one of those friends.

 

As time went on, the friends urged him to open up a winery. Due to the meticulous criteria of opening a winery, Franco could only donate his life dream to his friends and family. 

 

Donations began piling up and more wine was being poured out.

 

Eventually, in February 2018, GADELA winery came into existence.

 

It would not be until July 2019, four years of patiently waiting, when Daniel and I arrived at the countryside winery, GADELA in Spring, Texas. We spent the evening sipping delicate whites and elegant reds over Franco’s harmonious storytelling of each grape and its origin.  

 

Above the crisp ‘Brisa’ (2013 Sauvignon Blanc) white wine and passionate ‘Feast’ red wine, a revelation was shared. What made GADELA so special was its acronym.

 

GADELA stands for, Gloria a Dios en las Alturas. In English it translates, Glory to God in the Highest. 

 

A divine appointment. An appointment which was molded and cared for over four years. Seeds planted, watered and vines began to flourish. A new wine was created, and it certainly could not be poured into an old wineskin.

 

 

 

 

 

This past month, I had the honor to sit down with Franco and Brenda and talk about God’s work during this four-year adventure.

 

We discussed the ups and downs, job loss and Heavenly gains. “Nothing makes God laugh more than when you have your own plans.” Says Franco. They shared their testimony, a peek into their marriage and ministry.

 

We giggled about their children and their travels to Central America and the Caribbean, visiting family and friends. We sipped on accidentally forgotten recipe wines and discussed how praying to God to, “Bless this wine.” was not just another loose prayer.

 

The Lord expresses how important it is to find others of like-mindedness and fellowship with others. Philippians 2:2 says, Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”

 

This is why it was so important for us to find this couple, and their wine. Just like an aged fine cabernet, what was four years in the making, was even sweeter when it was enjoyed between newfound friends.

 

It was never about the wine, it was about the winemaker. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carolyn M. Soto Jackson and Carolyn Marie Photography

Houston, TX

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