Monday, February 24, 2020

11 of the Best Wineries in the Texas Hill Country - Part 2

Hello wine connoisseurs! We’re back to finish our list of 11 of the Best Wineries in the Texas Hill Country! The Hill Country is a geographical sweet-spot with a climate that allows grapes to thrive in the rich Texas soil. If you’re in town, check out a few of these wineries during your stay.

Missed the first blogpost? Read about the first 5 wineries on our list.

people tasting wine in wine cellar

6. Spicewood Vineyards

Considered one of the largest vineyards in the Hill Country, Spicewood Vineyards was founded as a winery that only produced wines from grapes grown on the estate. Today, they strive to adhere to that tradition. These vineyards started with 17 acres of grapevines and nine of those acres are still producing excellent fruit on vines that are more than 24 years old. Now the vineyard boasts 32 acres and grows several varieties, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Tempranillo.

grapes on the vine

7. Ron Yates Wines

This family-owned and operated winery produces exquisite Spanish, Italian, and Rhone-style wines from estate-grown grapes. They recently opened a tasting pavilion that also offers a large outdoor porch where you can enjoy a glass of wine while relaxing. The owner, Ron Yates, is a specialist in Tempranillo, therefore, he plants that grape extensively in his vineyards along with Graciano and Petite Sirah grapes.

wine bottles and glasses by vineyard

8. Calais Winery

Benjamin Calais’s winery doesn’t just bear his name but the name of his hometown in France as well, Calais. Benjamin started his winery in Hye, Texas in 2008 because he enjoys winemaking and had a desire to create and share outstanding wines. This winery is built into the side of a hill, in the tradition of a “wine cave." This keeps the space naturally cooler. Benjamin Calais makes old-world wine with a new-world flair. Calais Winery offers two wine tasting experiences: Tasting in the Cave where you can taste wine at the tasting bar with intentionally limited space to encourage conversation and learning; and the Winemakers Table where you will reserve your place at the farm table and experience wine tasting with French winemaker, Benjamin Calais.

rolling hills of a vineyard

9. Flat Creek Estate

Flat Creek is more than wine tasting. It’s an experience. The estate covers 80 acres of Texas land. The estate offers wine tasting, winery tours, and a menu offering everything from hors d’oeuvres and cheese to wood-fired pizzas, to three-course wine-paired chef’s menus. There is even an 18-hole disc golf course on the estate that offers two playing options: a challenging professional level and a fun, less intense level. The Wine and Food Hall is a beautiful space for enjoying food and wine, sampling new wines, or socializing with friends over appetizers and a bottle of wine. The former tasting room has been turned into the Market Hall. This hall offers fantastic views of the winery production area or a Port Room set up for private groups. There are gift items available, as well as a patio for relaxing with a glass of wine. If you’re looking for a short getaway, you can stay overnight at the Vintner’s Quarters that offers lots of sleeping space, as well as a kitchen and living area. There is also a bistro on the estate.

couple drinking wine in vineyard

10. Becker Vineyards

Becker Vineyards is a large, beautiful estate. There are 56 acres with several vineyards. There are also acres of grassy lawn perfect for a picnic. A field of lavender offers delightful fragrance and beauty. The Lavender Haus is a replica of a barn at the Lyndon B. Johnson Settlement in Johnson City and is used for wine dinners, festive luncheons, birthday parties, group wine tastings, and more. The Verandah is a large patio that offers outdoor wine tasting. The winery is a reproduction of a 19th century German stone barn. Becker Vineyards produces red, white, and rosé wines that are sure to please you.

11. Pedernales Cellars

Run by a sixth generation Texas family, Pedernales Cellars has been producing Texas grapes since 1995 to make their exceptional Spanish and Rhone Style wines, including their benchmark Tempranillo and Viognier. Pedernales Cellars offers 145 acres of land with incomparable views of the Texas Hill Country. Their wine tasting menu offers six selections designed to give you the full range of what this winery has to offer.

This is just a sampling of the many wineries in the Texas Hill Country. These wineries offer beautiful, relaxing, intimate settings where you can please your palate with their award-winning wines, most of which are made from Texas-grown grapes. Some of them have great spots to bring a picnic, others offer on-site restaurants, and some of them also offer venues that are perfect for a birthday party or wedding. If you enjoy wine tasting or a good glass of wine with dinner or a picnic, come to one of the beautiful, unique wineries in the Texas Hill Country and experience the taste of Texas.

Monday, February 10, 2020

11 of the Best Wineries in the Texas Hill Country - Part 1

11 of the Best Wineries in the Texas Hill Country

Are you a wine connoisseur or do you simply enjoy the taste of a fine wine with dinner? Do you think the best wines come from Napa Valley? The Texas Hill Country has become a popular wine tourism destination as well, offering some award-winning, palate-pleasing wines. The Texas Hill Country boasts so many wine estates and vineyards that there is only enough space to feature eleven of them here. Whether you live nearby or choose to come to the Hill Country on your vacation, you won’t be disappointed in the red, white, and rosé wines here.

vineyard fields and trees aerial view

1. Driftwood Estate Winery

Located in Driftwood, Texas, this winery and vineyard show their Texas pride in their fine wine offerings made from Texas grapes. Driftwood Estate Winery stands on a bluff with a stunning view of its vineyard grapevines as well as the Hill Country. Enjoy tasting any of the six wines on their tasting list in the tasting room or enjoy a glass of wine while roaming the winery grounds. You may also choose to sip your wine with one of the tasty items from the newly-opened on-site bistro.

Vineyard and estate aerial view

2. Fall Creek Vineyards

Named after the breathtaking 90-foot waterfalls located at the north end of the ranch, these vineyards had an interesting beginning. In 1973, Ed and Susan Auler took a trip to France with the intention of purchasing some French-bred cattle to cross with their herd of Angus in the Hill Country. However, they had recently become interested in wine, and though Ed was practicing law, he had also taken over the operation of his family’s ranch and wanted to find a way to increase its profitability. Their trip to France became an education in French wines, food, and culture, and in 1975, they began their vineyard with a test plot of a quarter acre that grew into seven-and-a-half acres by the late 1970s. Then they began purchasing the 400 acres that have become Fall Creek Vineyards. In the mid-1980s they increased their wine education with help from experts in Napa and Sonoma. Ed and Susan began as wine-growing pioneers in the Texas Hill Country and have grown their vineyard and winery to now include two tasting rooms in two different locations, Fall Creek Vineyards in Tow, Texas and their second location in Driftwood, Texas. All their wines are made from Texas-grown grapes.

courtyard with chairs, tables, and tree

3. Signor Vineyards

Signor Vineyards in Fredericksburg, Texas is a result of the friendships of three generations of two families, the Signors and the Weisingers. Signor Vineyards is located in the Texas Hill Country where the Pedernales River meets Grape Creek and is known as the most beautiful winery in the Hill Country. The tasting room is located in a former residence. After a tasting, why not purchase a bottle of the wine you found most palatable, spread a blanket under the shade of one of the oak trees, and enjoy your own picnic lunch while feasting your eyes on the 135-acre property.

grapes on the vine

4. Grape Creek Vineyards

Come taste the wines of Grape Creek. They have won over 200 medals in just the past two years. This 100-acre estate offers winery tasting rooms and a restaurant in a Tuscan Villa. You are certain to feel as though you have entered a part of Italy while standing in Fredericksburg, Texas. Grape Creek owner Brian Heath recently opened another tasting room, “Heath Sparkling Wines,” in a very modern building with a spectacular view of the rows upon rows of grapevines used to make Grape Creek’s wines. At Heath Sparkling Wines, experience Euphoria, a Chenin-Blanc elegant sparkling wine with characteristics of white peach, honeysuckle, and subtle citrus zest.

5. 4.0 Cellars

This unique tasting room is a combination of three wineries: BrennanVineyards, a 37-acre vineyard in Comanche, Texas that produces world-class wines recognized in international competitions; Lost Oak Winery of Burleson, Texas, known for its award-winning Merlot; and McPherson Cellars, which has been in business for over 40 years and promotes Mediterranean and Rhone Valley varietals in Lubbock, Texas. They offer three wine tasting experiences: the Signature Tasting Experience where you can choose from three tasting menus that give you the opportunity to taste six wines; the Texas Cheese and Wine Experience which features five artisan Texas cheeses from Veldhuizen Cheese Company along with five 4.0 wines specifically selected to complement the cheeses; and the Private Texas Chocolate and Wine Experience which pairs four award-winning chocolate truffles with four carefully selected 4.0 wines.

You can't miss with any of these wineries! We’ll finish our list next blog post. Stay tuned!

(read the rest of the 11 wineries)