The Biggest Gamble of All


October 2008

I initially saw Alphonse Dotson interview with a local channel in Austin. I was amazed and happy to hear that a Black man owned a vineyard and it was close in the Texas Hill Country. I reached out to him and he agreed to do an interview. We are sharing snippets from our fun time with him and his wife Martha at the Centenberg Vineyard.

Most people know Alphonse Dotson as a professional football player with the Oakland Raiders, but he took a different track. So when you think of him now, you think of grapes. He stated some of his closest friends had a hard time with such a different track.

Dotson and his wife, Martha live in a home overlooking a wonderful vineyard full of grapes cultivated and grown by them. They put in long hours to keep the vineyard growing and producing a wonderful wine. Dotson got into growing grapes from his grandfather. His grandfather introduced him to the plants he grew at the rear of their home in Houston Texas. After his grandfather passed away, he found himself thinking about grapes for the next 40 years.

After leaving football, he went into different ventures and purchased a home on the Pacific in Las Playas Acapulco. He and Martha got married and moved back and decided together they would become grape growers. Neither knew anything about growing grapes but with research and talking to his friends, the vineyard was born. In 2008, he had 29 acres and 18,000,00 plants.

So what did Dotson do with the grapes? He sold his grapes to Fall Creek Vineyard, which produce great tasting wines. However, after this interview, Alphonse and Martha created their own wine. It is a Muscat under the label Dotson/Cervantes Wine. Dotson characterizes the wine by saying “Gotas De Oro is a wine that defies precise definition .”

To find out more about the vineyard, visit
Side Note:

When we went out and conducted the interview it was so much fun. I had never been to a vineyard and just tasting the grapes off the vine was a thrill. I learned a lot about the hard work and long hours it takes for them to have this successful vineyard. If you ever visit Alphonse and Martha, tell them hello for us.


#ujimamagazine #onlinemagazine #magazinelife #collectiveworkandresponsibility #ujimaarchives #ujimabirthday #eightyears #embraceyourcommunity #alphonseandmartha #centenbergvineyards #memories

Damita Miller-Shanklin

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