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Man’s best friend” is the common colloquial phrase to describe man’s passionate companionship with domestic dogs. Its first recorded use, dates to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia in 1772, but it was later popularized in a poem by Ogden Nash. Yet Krystal Patel, Meierstone Vineyard’s owner and winemaker, says “Au contraire” to the phrase and rather prefers a woman’s best friend.
Her dog “Kimber,” a rescue show Dobermann that responds to commands only in Russian, found peace and comfort in the ultimate playground, a 555-acre, family-owned ranch, farm and tasting room spread in Stonewall. The property, which formerly produced crops and Black Angus cattle, and was a whitetail and Axis hunting ground, now offers an updated historical venue with exceptional Texas wines. It’s not uncommon for Kimber to take one-hour jaunts around the spacious property, playing with boney plated Armadillos, yet returning to greet visitors finding their way to the Meierstone tasting room.
Kimber marks a long Dobermann history for owner Krystal Patel. This is her fifth Dobermann in succession, which parlays to her family having seven generations in Gillespie County. Her family was with one of the first German immigrants, Jacob Brodbeck, dating back to 1848. Brodbeck was the second official schoolteacher in Fredericksburg, land commissioner, and an interesting inventor of his time.
On my recent visit to Meierstone Vineyards, I pulled into the grassy parking lot only to be greeted by sleek and graceful Kimber. Her calm demeanor showed excellent training by her owner, especially for a breed that can be intimidating. She seemed to smile with affection that I had arrived and wanted to walk me to the tasting room. Each step, she looks back, as if proud of her domain.
Once in the tasting area, she found comfort lying on the cool concrete floor during that hot summer day. Kimber watched me taste through an educational presentation, tail wagging, and seemed almost excited to see me enjoy the moment. I couldn’t help but to think, what if dogs could talk and what would she say? In my mind, her sleek frame painted a picture of the wines I tasted. All were perfectly balanced with careful attention to detail. It was a reflection of her seamless, protective elegance that shined during the moment. I was content with having Kimber near me, yet knew she was under the careful watch of owner Krystal. That in itself shows respect from owner to pet and pet to owner. It’s a precise love for one another that is simply understood without asking.
Indeed, not man’s best friend in this case. Rather I sincerely concur with owner Krystal. Kimber has manifested the true essence that she is “woman’s best friend.”
By ANDRE BOADAR