The Wines of Dotson-Cervantes are a testament to the glory that can be accomplished through the love and determination of a husband and wife. Alphonse Dotson, a former NFL defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders, and his wife Martha Cervantes went from the sparkle of a dream to growing some of the most-prized grapes in Texas, and creating the most exquisite wines.

When Alphonse was just a boy, he recalls a visit to his grandfather’s house in Houston like it was yesterday. Walking the grounds, he stumbled upon the most beautiful grape vines, and was amazed that his grandfather was able to accomplish this feat in Texas of all places. His grandfather’s chuckle at his perplexity planted the seed that would sprout in his mind years later.

So many of his life experiences have taught Alphonse the determination and strength needed to accomplish his goals. From his beginnings on the football field at Yates High School in Houston, Alphonse worked hard to go on to play for the Grambling State University Tigers – no small feat for a young African American man in the 1960s. After making the All-American Team in 1964, Alphonse was highly sought-after in the National Football League, signed on by the Kansas City Chiefs, the Miami Dolphins, and eventually playing for John Madden’s Oakland Raiders from 1967-1970.

Fast-forward years later, Alphonse has won the heart of Marta, a hardworking business woman in the world of Acuna real estate. Their families grew together, making lasting memories that strengthened the bond between husband and wife, setting the stage for their new venture. That seed planted all those years ago by his grandfather had finally started to sprout in Alphonse’s mind. “Are you crazy?!” was Martha’s reaction. She knew the hard work it would take, but she was also very familiar with her husband’s damn ambition.

That damn ambition brought them to Voca, Texas where Alphonse and Martha purchased over 80 acres in 1997 for Certenberg Vineyards. Over the years, they would grow to produce the finest grapes for Fall Creek’s award-winning wines as well as their own Wines of Dotson-Cervantes.

While both have a hand in every aspect of the vineyard and winery operation, they each have their passions. Alphonse has a love for wine making and the experience that each wine brings. The vineyard is where Martha feels at home, tending to the vines with careful hands. When they come together, their creations are extraordinary – a true partnership in the journey of wine making.


Read more about our story in these featured articles.

Texas Co-op Power- April 2021

Houston Chronicle- February 2021

The Courier of Montgomery County- February 2020

Texas Wine Lover- February 2019

Winemakers Uncorked- December 2017

Edible Austin- 2015

Vintage Texas Blog – October 2014

Texas Wines & Trails Magazine – March 2013

Our Texas – Summer 2008

Saveur- February 2008

Chicago Tribune- April 2008

Austin American Statesman Food & Life- April 2008

Southern Living Points South- November 2008

Gotas de Oro: A Play in Progress

Fate sometimes shapes us as much as design.

Envision an empty stage — no set, no staff, and for the most part, no actors. Then add an actor, not as a player yet but as an audience of one. He’s not good at waiting, but he knows a good play takes time and a lot of hard work to turn out the way it should. He knows all about plays, not those performed on a stage before an audience with two or three acts, but as a football performer. His stages were the football fields of the National Football League. He’s been a player, and a good one at that. From high school ball in Houston to coach Eddie Robinson’s Grambling Tigers to stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Miami Dolphins, and the Oakland Raiders, he’s been there as a player. But that’s behind him now and he’s looking to perform on a different stage.

Fate sometimes shapes us as much as design. Critical planning often gives way to the whims of chance. Our actor worked at a number of other jobs, drifted some but never aimlessly. Perhaps his aim wasn’t always good, but a miss is better than no aim at all. No aim, no gain . . . that’s the way he was raised, that’s the path he has followed. Discouraged over a recent business venture, and he took a trip to South America to calm himself down, think things over carefully. In Acapulco, he found a Cliffside villa that struck his fancy, and he bought it and decided to stay awhile. Chance had settled him, positioned him for better things to come.

Martha Cervantes grew up in the Guadalajara area of Mexico but ended up in Acapulco. She was a single mother, divorced and raising her two young sons, and by chance she met Alphonse Dotson. Eventually, they got together and married. She worked for an outfit called Grupo Costamex, the largest real estate management company in Mexico. Over the next dozen years, she worked her way up the corporate ladder from sales to a secure management position.

Yes, a good play takes time and a lot of hard work to be successful. You can build the stage, create the set, but you still need the script and the actors and the will to pull it all together. Alphonse started thinking about grapes a long time before he came to Voca, Texas and started his own vineyard. He did this with Martha by his side, with her sons and now a child of their own. They bought the land, built a home, and started raising grapes . . . and they worked hard and studied the business they’d gone into with a fervor. They prospered some and suffered some setbacks. Overall, they were pleased with the quality of their grapes, and so were some wine makers around the state. The stage is now almost set for what’s been their aim for some time, a wine of their own.

The setting of the stage for the introduction of Gotas de Oro may well have been in great part a thing of chance, or just good fortune, but the wine itself is anything but a product of chance. We’ve told the short story of Alphonse and Martha here because it’s important to know what went into the production of this fine

wine. What we’re talking about here is years of preparation and hard work. And what we’re talking about is not a man/wife partnership founded on simple necessity. It’s a merging of different ideas, some dreams and plans, and lots of preparation. To know the grape, you must study it, and you must learn about it first hand through experience in growing it. To know the wine, you must likewise study it and prepare for it before it actually takes the stage as a performer.

Gotas de Oro appeared in the early fall of 2009 and was quickly recognized as a very good wine. It is advertized as a kite harvest Muscat Canelli, but this in no ordinary Muscat. Reviews of it have mentioned scents and flavors in terms of “white flower, peach, and lemon notes,” or as having “layers of nectarine, white peach, crushed flowers, lemon zest, honey and pear compote.” More notes about it refer to it as being “bright, clean and has plenty of lifting acidity. It’s remarkably well balanced and lively.”

Wine reviews are sometimes useful to the reader who’s interested in trying something new, and they’re especially useful to a seasoned wine drinker or someone who’s knowledgeable about wine. To the inexperienced neophyte drinker, reviews can be misleading and confusing. But regardless of experience of knowledge of wines, how well a person likes a particular wine is totally up to them. What’s wrong with just a simple invitation to try the wine? Gotas de Oro just might be a wine that defies precise definition when it comes to taste. Think of it as an adventure in wine drinking. Go at it with an open mind and decide on your own what it tastes like, or how well you like it. In other words, have a glass or two and create your own definition about what the experience is like. And then if you come up with something definitive, drop us a note and express your opinion. We’ll add your note to our list of reviews of Gotas de Oro .. . and we’ll appreciate you’re taking the time to do it.