Well, you’re in for a treat with a totally different wine tasting experience!  Owners Craig Mayer, Daniel Kelada, Travis Graves, and Allen Lucarelli have kicked started a new and refreshing way for customers to enjoy their tasting sessions.  Vinovium Partners has actually been around since 2012 offering services and products to the industry.  Their tasting room along Hwy 290 started soft openings back in early July.  What you’ll first notice about this place when you’re in the tasting room are the taps for pouring wine.   Yes, how cool is that? Vinovium (and yes, the name does reference the roman fort in England) uses a keg solution for pouring wine and selling to customers. Besides reducing cost, this also helps promote to customers that their wine is ready to drink now and drink well.  After your tasting session in the Growler Lounge, all you do is select what wine you like and they bottle it for you in a growler.  Bring it back when it’s empty, and you can enjoy more great wines from their selection.  (Nice way to recycle the bottles!) Once you get the hang of how it works, you’ll walk away and come back a satisfied wine lover and customer.  They try to use Texas grapes when the can for their wines, but they also have a great selection of wines made from grapes from around the world.  On the tasting menu, you’ll also get to see who the wine maker was for each wine.  Some of you may notice some familiar names from the Texas wine industry!  We got to try a great selection that included bubbly, whites, Rose’, reds, and then some using their “Old World style” glasses.  They happened to have a great Prosecco to try that was quite delicious.  We’ll save that bottle for a special celebration posting in the future.  The 2015 Texas Rose’ is made by Llano Estacado.  This blend of Cinsault, Zinfandel, Carignan, and Grenache has nice melon notes. The 2013 American Lot 37 is made by Tim Drake from Flat Creek.  There is nothing Tim touches that won’t turn out great!  This white mixture of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Pinot Grigio has refreshing lemon flavors and some hints of avocado.   The California 2014 Chardonnay is very smoky, with a creamy texture. The 2014 Oregon Pinot Noir greets you with ripe bright berry flavor with some earthiness to it. The second Tim Drake creation is the Texas lot 83 NV blend.  Think of this Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo blend as the Super Texan NV. Yes, it is quite good and does Super Texan proud!  The California 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty on the nose with some light herbal notes.  Next, was the Two Worlds NV blend.  Made from many different wine makers of old and new world grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Carignan, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay), you’ll get a complex meld of licorice notes with some nuttiness.  The 2012 Montsant is made by the famous former Becker winemaker Russel Smith.  The Master made a fantastic red blend of Grenache and Carignan.  It’s leathery rich and dark texture only adds to that full body experience and makes you want to linger over this glass. We also tried the Italian Moscato on hand made from the same place as the Prosecco.  It was sweet, dripping with a honeysuckle nose and pure joy on the palate. A great way to end the tasting session!  Did we mention that have espresso, too? How many times have you been on 290 and craved a shot of espresso or some great coffee and agonized that you have to drive all the way back to Fredericksburg or Marble Falls to get your fix?  Wine tasting or not, you can now stop here for an espresso shot too.  Vinovium plans on holding wine education classes.  These are a great educational opportunity to enhance and appreciate wine even more.  The great location and nice hill country scenery in the back makes for a great new place to sip and relax.  Staying open till 9pm just adds another spot to extend your day as you hang out with friends enjoying your trek into the Hill country wine region. They have definitely raised the bar on what’s trending with Texas wineries.  We look forward to many more visits and new wine offerings coming in the future. Because they produce small lots, they can turn over wine faster and provide broader options on their tasting menu, leaving you more opportunities to check out new things with every visit. Looking forward to seeing how their vision unfolds in the future. A bright new beginning on the 290 Hill Country wine trail. Cheers!