Let me speak frankly. I don’t know wine. I can’t pick out the notes or tell the difference between vintages. That doesn’t mean I don’t like wine. Even if I can’t stand the dry ones, I do enjoy an occasional glass every now and then.
The Texas Wine Trail has many vineyards to choose from, which is why my friends and I decided to take a mini tour last Labor Day. It turned out to be a good time to visit the wineries, because we did not have to deal with any crowds.
We started our trek out at Sisterdale where we stopped by Sister Creek Vineyards. The winery is a mix of rustic and modern elements. It is actually a renovated 1885 cotton gin with has all new stainless steel technology.
I wish we saved this winery for last, because it turned out to be my favorite. When we walked into the tasting room, there was only one other group. Encouraged to take the self-guided tour by the friendly staff, we saw oak barrels and steel tanks galore. Then it was back for our tasting.
The Muscat Canelli and Muscat Canelli Reserve are just two reasons why Sister Creek should be on your trail stop. These two sparkling wines are exactly what I look for in a wine, both sweet and refreshing. This is where we also tried a mix of their Cab with Muscat. I’m glad I learned this trick since it turns the dry wine I usually dislike into a sweeter wine I can handle.
After driving through Luckenbach and a quick bite to eat, we stopped at the Fredericksburg Winery. This one is in the middle of Main Street Fredericksburg, therefore, you see the vineyard. But it is a big super-cooled commercial building where the wine is made right there. I wasn’t crazy about the wine choices, because the “sweet” wines seemed dry to me. But the customer service was awesome and the winery also offered other samples besides wine.
This is also where we found out about the Texas Winery Passport. You stamp the winery’s code into your own little passport booklet, and afterward enter the codes into the website. All of these codes contribute to rewards, just for visiting wineries. Some of the rewards include wine glasses, private tours of wineries and meals at your favorite vineyard for you and your friends. I know this program has motivated me to try more wineries soon!
After the Fredericksburg Winery, we went outside of town to Rancho Pointe Vineyards. Only two years old, this winery has a beautiful new tasting room, which we had to ourselves that day. Most of the wines were too strong for my taste, but they were flavorful. For being so new, this winery knows good wine.
Next was a winery known for using 100% Texas fruit called William Chris Vineyards in Hye. That day featured live music and grape stomping. The tasting room had an eclectic feel (doors for a ceiling) but also made you feel at home. No sweet wines were on their tasting list the day we visited, so I decided to pass, but my friend liked their wines.
Just off of Highway 281 in Johnson City we made our last stop at Texas Hills Vineyard. This winery had an upscale Tuscan feel on a sprawling plot of land. Once again we had the tasting room to ourselves. I stuck with the muscato again, and was pleasantly satisfied with the two they had to offer. I’m not a big fan of oranges, but the Orange Muscato didn’t have an overpowering fruit flavor. The Muscato also was enjoyable and is now on my personal wine list.
After 200 miles, five wineries and more than 15 types of wine, I’m no closer to being a connoisseur, but I have found more wines I like. I highly encourage visits to all of the wineries and to be braver than I was toward the dryer wines.
For more information on the Texas Wine Trail, visit http://www.texaswinetrail.com/index.html