Finding Hwy. 71 with no difficulty, we headed west. Traffic notwithstanding, I had forgotten how I love the Hill Country! The craggy, hilly terrain was peppered with greenery and a hefty dose of dusty rock escarpments. Walled roads curved and curved opening to surprising vistas of hills beside you – in some places, it seemed as if you could see forever. Reaching a flatter area, we consulted our Texas Wineries’ Map – remember, seven years brings many changes in technology, we were not at the point of using phone apps – no GPS just yet.
To our delight, the first winery we located was a charming place, much like one would think an Italian Villa would look. We found Flat Creek in the hills near Singleton Bend overlooking a lovely vista. Sitting in a tasting room on 80-acres, we enjoyed tastes of a variety of wines including their “Super Tuscan” which boasted the Sangiovese variety. Our palates whetted, we discovered Spicewood Vineyards next, down a dirt road over some cattle guards and in a cool location surrounded by trees. Opened in 1995, the winery had a deep cellar beneath their Hill Country style tasting room; the atmosphere was calming. It wasn’t crowded, so the young man doing our tasting was able to spend some time. I wish I remembered all we tasted of the mostly dry wines and more specific facts – however, my general impression was enjoyable. I do remember that we felt the young man was knowledgeable and able to answer questions. Spicewood has since changed ownership, but still makes quality wine. Our last winery of the day, since it was getting close to 5:00 in the evening, was McReynolds Winery. This one was also fun to find – down more two lane roads finally locating a cozy log cabin tasting facility. From California, the owners had once done research at Stanford University. Moving to the Hill Country with that and some wine making expertise, they began their endeavor. Their grapes are purchased from Texas vineyards and their menu features many good reds. So ended our Friday of relaxing wine tasting.
Saturday morning dawned; we breakfasted and prepared our next jaunt. Since most wineries don’t open until 11 or 12, we felt we had some time to enjoy a leisurely morning. As we headed out, we decided to take Hwy. 290 west, toward Fredericksburg. There were so many wineries from which to choose, and now in 2015, there are many more! Wanting to enjoy our time, we ended up visiting only four wineries. All were fun, all were different, and all had good wines of various characteristics. Not making tasting notes, I won’t be specific. However, we choose to visit Grape Creek first. This lovely winery also had a definite Tuscan countryside Villa feel. At the time we visited, the vineyards were fairly young since they had replanted after freezes and rootstock disease. Having been in business since 1985 (the current facility finished in 1989), they brought grapes in from other parts of Texas to make their delicious wines. We had a picnic on the patio and enjoyed a glass of the vino with our snack. Not really wishing to leave the ambiance, we did, though, move on to our next winery.
Torre di Pietra Vineyards was down the road from Grape Creek. Here we discovered another attractive winery setting with a Mediterranean feel. It had been open since 2004 and was decidedly popular. There were a few whites, and several reds – some dry wines, and several sweet wines (both white and red). The tasting experience was a bit hurried and I felt a little hassled, not able to enjoy the atmosphere. Having completed our tasting, we moved on down the road. Down another dirt road, off of 290, we discovered Woodrose Winery – open since 2002 (vines planted in 1999.) The tasting set up was interesting, we were seated at a table and the wines brought to us. Since that time, they have expanded their menu. I need to return to taste their Vermentino. At any rate, we enjoyed that respite, but moved on to our next and final location. Becker Vineyards, established in 1992, boasts 46 acres of vineyards with 3-acres of lavender fields nearby. A combination of old and new with the new barn style tasting room near an 1880 log cabin, Becker produces many varieties of white and red wines. There were over 15 on the menu; you chose six wines to taste. Their wine making efforts have been rewarded with a large distribution in Texas. At the time we visited, their purchase of Bluebonnet Hill Vineyard in Ballinger in 1997, had definitely added to their productivity. This was a lovely visit and the two-day experience was a pleasant Mother’s Day time. It, and our fun time in California, was the beginning of several wonderful wine tasting trips to come.