Another piece of paradise - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Another piece of paradise

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

BULLARD, TX (KLTV) - 12 years ago it was just a few acres of grapes and an idea. Now, Kiepersol Estates features close to 60 acres of East Texas vineyards. Their growth now has owners looking to upgrade, and we're not talking about the wine.

From the palm trees to the stretch limo parked out front, it's pretty hard to miss.

"If you live in paradise, you have to have all the things you need in paradise," said Kiepersol Estates owner, Pierre de Wet.

KE Bushman's Winery and Celebration Center is adding to an East Texas paradise. De Wet started Kiepersol Estates before many thought regional wine making was possible.

"[It] just goes to show, there's nothing you cannot do here in East Texas," said De Wet. "We make wines that compete with any of the wine regions."

On the farm or a ranch most of his life, De Wet found the right formula for success in East Texas, something he says was not by accident.

"I think East Texas is still a place like the whole America used to be, where you can be successful with anything you put your mind and power to," said De Wet. "You cannot do it in a 40 hour workweek. It takes a lot more hours than 40 hours a week to be successful."

Evidence of his hard work is the new KE Bushman's Center. The inside can accommodate 1300 people, each of whom are more than welcome to peruse the center's strictly Texas wine selection in the back. But it's what's in the front that De Wet is most proud of. A plaque is displayed, dedicated to those who fight for the freedoms of our country.

"Socialism and communism take away individual rights and make everything community property, community rights," said De Wet. "This country was built upon the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail and the freedom to start over again, and I just want to honor those who fought for what we have and remember them for every day of our lives.

For De Wet, the center serves to celebrate more than weddings or concerts, but the sacrifice's of soldiers.

"I'm really happy," he said. "I think this will be another place in East Texas that East Texans will be proud of, and the good Lord will be proud of."

De Wet has planned a special grand opening ceremony. This Saturday at 9 a.m., KE Bushman's Center will honor World War II veterans. De Wet said he hopes a flag raising ceremony dedicated to the soldiers will remind people of the sacrifices they made.

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