Archives for posts with tag: wineries

This hidden gem on the western side of US HWY 183 in Bertram is worth your wine trekking travel stop.  Owners Gail and Kenny Fowler opened their tasting room five years ago. Long time Texas wine fans might remember them from the Lakeway Winery at the Oasis. Retired firefighter, Kenny, developed the theme for the winery and the décor with firefighter paraphernalia such has a fire hydrant out front, and interior walls decorated with fire patches, helmets and even some firehoses curled up on the floor.  Not to mention that many of the wines’ names are firefighter related. Their grapes and juice are sourced from the Texas High Plains as well as from other areas across the state.  There is an A-to-Z selection from white, rosé, red, and sweet wines. On this visit, we started off with the two whites on the menu, both of which will help quench a very hot Texas summer thirst.  The Viognier is dry and crisp with a bit of oak on the nose.  The 2019 Engine 12 is a Rhone style blend of Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne. It is very well balanced and floral with some citrus notes and a bit of oak on the finish. The Rescue Rosé is Cinsault based and will fill your palate with fresh ripe strawberry and black currant flavors – a wine great to sip or pair with a variety of food options. For the reds, we started with the Engine 39. This red beast is a Barbera with rich cherry and blackberry notes and a hint of vanilla. The wine had good tannins and acids (should pair nicely with meaty pasta dishes). We tried the Cabernet Franc called The Specialist.  Cherry and plums dominated this red gem. Most everyone knows how dominant Tempranillo is in Texas wineries and the 2019 Ignite is their take on this Texas varietal. It is quite bold, with firm tannins, bright acids, and plum aromas with a bit of nut on the finish. Bring on your best ribeye with that monster!  For the sweet wines, check out the Cadet.  It has a rhubarb flavor with strawberry bouquet and makes a light sweet summer sipper.  For port lovers, they save the best for last with the Extinguisher.  Twelve years in the making (part barrel and bottle aged), this crown jewel is rich in pecan, caramel, and dried fruit. On the horizon, they should be releasing a Sangiovese in the future. With a very nice quiet setting in the country overlooking the vineyard, this is a good spot for chilling and sipping. Check them out when in the area or planning a wine outing and be on the lookout for their food wine dinners. Always a treat to find new wineries and tasting rooms, so explore and enjoy!

Located in the Hemisphere Park area of San Antonio, Re:Rooted elevates the experience of what an urban wine bar should be. This has been a dream in the making for Jennifer Beckmann, who has been planning this winery since 2017. Not only is she a fantastic Sommelier, but practically a natural at educating people on wine experiences.  Many long time Texas wine fans will recognize Jennifer from her professional Texas resume: from her initial days at Perissos, to Bending Branch, to Kuhlman, and finally Slate Mill before she jumped into her own lane. Re:Rooted not only brings to life that decade of Texas winery experience, but her previous professional experiences and more importantly…passion for great wine. The wine bar name relates to quite literally re-rooting her wines and business plans here as well as the area code of San Antonio. After covid related delays, Jennifer was finally able to open in February of 2021. Re:Rooted focuses on wines on tap to enjoy by the glass or growler. Growler and not by the bottle?  Why, yes!  Instead of straight from aging to bottling, wine is stored in petainer kegs where it can then be poured into a glass or used to fill up a growler and take home and then reuse – like the locals do things in Europe. Not only is there no difference in quality, but it certainly saves a great deal of waste and time associated with bottling. Jennifer oversees and drives the Re:Rooted label brand and blending that is made from 100% Texas grapes. She works with some of the Hill Country and High Plains partners for crushing, fermentation, aging and blending.  The modern industrial style decor for this 2000+ square feet site is amazing. With the cool repurposed aircraft fixtures that artistically became modern art light fixtures, along with the high ceilings and concrete floors, the vibe here is nothing less than spectacular.  In addition to the Re:Rooted wines, there are also a number of Texas wines featured that enables one to experience what’s “out there”.  So, what are Re:Rooted wines like? For the whites, the tasting menu starts with the 2019 Cable Car. Named after the days when there were cable cars at Hemisphere Park, this white blend of 55% Roussanne and 45% Viognier embraces you with peach and jasmine aromas and bright acidity. The 2020 Roussanne has bit of a lemon zest with a touch of vanilla. For the reds, the 2019 Mourvèdre has a “Pinot Noir” feel to it and is very fruit forward with raspberries and good minerality. The 2019 Cinco Colmillos (bottled) is a brand featuring 5 varieties. The 2019 vintage has 35% Carignan, 30% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre, 11% Counoise, and 10% Grenache.  It has big fruit on the nose, great acidity, and a bit of peppercorn, too. The unique artwork on this label is fantastic, as well. The Riverwalk is a non-vintage easy sipper that will vary annually in its composition. This “year’s” has 86% Tempranillo (a Texas 2017), 11% Sangiovese, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is big on black cherries along with some delightful cocoa notes.  A 2018 Malbec should be arriving on the menu soon along with an Aglianco. Check back frequently to see how the line-up and the blends change…and consider the growler program!  Location, location, location can be everything. Not only does this wine bar have a great location for traffic, but an ideal location to help introduce visitors to the city and state, on what Texas has to offer in wonderful wines. If you want to venture out to the Texas wine country and experience more, Jennifer can provide suggestions as well. Had a less than stellar experience with a Texas wine?  Jennifer will help reset that bar and direct you into a far better experience, providing you with a positive, fun, and educational tasting. We look forward to coming back for more great wine, fun, and enjoyment in future trips to Re:Rooted and San Antonio. Viva la Re:Rooted and cheers!

Founded in 2021 by Scott Monette and Mirta Leon Poiseu, this brand-new winery in Mason is really showing off how well Spanish varieties can do in Texas.  The Mason Art and Wine festival last April 2nd was their big “first day” event and it seems like they have made a big impression with many Texas wine fans.  Scott had started out as a California wine drinker, but after a few trips to some fine Texas wineries and sampling what has been made recently, he was quite impressed and decided to take the deep dive into the Texas winery business. The focus of Saba Winery is on Spanish style wines along with some of the history associated with the Mason area. The owners have set aside about 15 acres of their own future estate grapes in the far northwestern frontier of the Texas Hill Country in Menard County. Some of the grapes they will be planting include Graciano, Grenache, and Carignan along with PicPoul Blanc. They also have a great mentor, John Rivenburgh working with them. Using John’s incubator project, this new winery is certainly off to the right start and in great hands.  For the wines, the names and images on the labels all have references to the early Spanish days in Texas along with a good story. Sourced from Buena Suerte Vineyards in the Texas High Plains AVA, the 2020 Mission Rosé is a 50/50 blend of Tempranillo and Grenache.  It has a light fruity fragrance on the nose and ripe strawberries on the palate.  The fruit for the 2019 Norteño Red comes from Tad Daniel Vineyards of the high plains. This blend of Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Alicante Bouschet displays strong ripe cherries followed a touch of spice on the nose.  Also sourced from Tad Daniel Vineyard is the 2019 Presidio Red.  This 80/20 Tempranillo-Souzao blend is bold and fruit forward and should pair quite nicely with your favorite meat dish. There is also a Two Rivers white available (named after the land between the San Saba and Llano rivers) as well as an upcoming red blend called 5 Hippies Red (named after wine pioneering influencers). In addition to the great wines, you will love the tasting rooms interior space themed in Spanish styled décor. Plus, the tapas are to die for!  This place is a great addition to the up-and-coming Mason wine scene! Come to Mason and see for yourself and say hello to one of the newest fun spots on the square.  Salud!

“That cave…oh, that wine cave!”  This will likely be one of the lasting first impressions you’ll have after visiting this place. Randy Jones, who also owns Slate Mill Wine Collective, has transformed the former Torre di Pietra location into something incredible. Many Texas wine trekkers up and down HWY 290 may have noticed the somewhat lengthy construction at the site. It has been a long time coming, but patience has paid off. The uniqueness and artistic quality of this new winery is certainly a one of kind. The original tasting room of Torre di Pietra has been transformed into an open free flowing concept and the 14+ acre vineyard in the back is still there. There are now some additional covered and open patio locations, a huge production facility and…And…AND a wine cave! It is definitely a real treat just to walk through, but yes, you can wine taste in cave, as well.  With huge arched ceilings, living walls (aka plants growing on it), and a lot of barrels aging future wines, this is certainly and place that can ease the mind and soothe the soul. To bring even more uniqueness to this winery is the theme of mental illness awareness. More like an effort to destigmatize some of the preconceived characterization of mental health. This effort is done very well with not only the label names of the wines, but also the surrounding artistry at the location. Speaking of the wines here, they are all 100% Texas sourced from estate locations Randy owns as well as partner vineyards. For the whites, there is a white blend called the Psychiatrist that has an elegant tropical like feel to it. Yes, they do have a Roussanne! This 2020 High Plains sourced fruit has a touch of vanilla and fresh ripe fruit notes. To make their “stamp” on Texas Rosés is an incredible crisp and dry 2020 Cinault. For the reds, start off with The Narcoleptic, 2017. This Syrah/Grenacne/Mourvedre blend has a touch of earthiness and rich cherry flavors. Next up is The Paranoid, 2018. With 80% Souzao and 20% Aglianico, you’ll pick up on notes of vanilla with mature dark fruit. Did someone say Malbec? Their 2017 release packs some intense berry flavors with notes of pepper. In winery’s own take of a Bordeaux-style wine, The Schizophrenic takes the show! This 2017 release is very well balanced, end-to-end mouthfeel, a hint of leather, and some fine lingering tannins. You can be the judge if it’s “left or right bank” material. The warm and family-oriented hospitality here will make you feel more than welcomed to come back again. This is truly a unique Texas winery with a focused and much needed goal on mind and soul, plus great wine! Allora, cin cin ragazzi, alla vostra salute!

When one sees Robert Clay Vineyards (RCV) as the fruit source for a Texas wine, then you know for sure exceptional quality is in store. For the few Texas wineries that have had this fruit in their wines, you know what “damn good” is!  Now with their own tasting room in Mason, Texas, one can taste RCV wines and truly appreciate what greatness is.  Mason County has been known as one of those special unique places for Texas high quality grape growing within the Texas Hill Country AVA. Originally planted in 1996 by Paul and Nancy Buist, Robert Clay Vineyards (named after their two sons) sits within one of those ideal microclimate locations for vineyards.  Located along Hickory Sandstone formation, the soil, climate, and 1700ft+ elevation have been ideal for key varieties.  During the “pioneer” days of Texas grape growing, The Buists planted 16 acres on their 50-acre land, most notably planting Touriga National.  Dan McLaughlin came along in 2012 and assumed caretaking that the vineyards badly needed. By cutting back the vines and focusing on natural farming practices, the grapes being yielded are out of this world.  Dan added some more vinifera bringing the vineyard sections up to about 20 acres. In addition to Touriga and the original plantings, he is growing Chardonnay, Viognier, Barbera, Cabernet, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah, and Tempranillo. Dan’s meticulous hands-on job is central to his farming practices.  That, along with holistic and sustainable methods, nature has certainly rewarded his hard work with incredible fruits of life.  Dan uses the same hands-on approach to his winemaking techniques. With quality fruit, great wine will follow! Already sourced from the vineyard, the rest of the minimal intervention approach to winemaking is just making sure that natural fermentation and aging goes as it should. If you’ve been to some Mason events, then you may have already been graced with tasting some of Dan’s wines.  For the wines in the tasting room, you will be treated with a fantastic selection.  The 2018 Chardonnay is proof that Texas can grow and make top quality Chard! Blind taste if you need or pinch yourself if you think you’re dreaming, but it is the real deal.  For Rosés, both the 2018 CGSM and Barbera are quite refreshing for those hot Texas summer and fall days. Recently, a 2018 Barbera sparkling was released in a Rosé style using Pet-Nat methods that is worth your bubbly sipping time.  You may have already tried the 2015 Merlot at Mason events and at a few “undisclosed” restaurants, but this three-year barrel aged wine and over three years aged in the bottle is one you will cherish! The 2015 Sangiovese is the only one on the list not from the estate vineyards. Sourced from Mandola Vineyards, this six-year barrel aged red wine has great color depth, flavor intensity, and an end-to-end after taste that will certainly make you crave more.  There is a 2016 vintage of Touriga National, a vintage that you can buy and perhaps taste, as well. It is rich, bold and can easily be on par with many top-notch wines produced from this grape.  Additionally, on the tasting menu is an RTM. Made from 75% Ruby Cabernet, 15% Touriga, and 10% Merlot, this 40-month French oak aged jewel has great balance, good acids, and an exceptional fruit profile.  There is more to say about this place, but on-site experience is the best way to enjoy. Time has already judged these wines to be setting the high bar and the future looks very bright. Robert Clay Vineyards grapes and the wines are a true labor of love in good hands with a dedicated focus on growing quality fruit and crafting fabulous wines that express Mason County well!

Well, you are in for a unique treat with this latest HWY 290 winery in the Texas Hill Country! Opened two years ago by owner Clayton Itz, this family run winery has been bringing some quality crafted wines from South America and South Africa to Central Texas. The fabulous high ceiling architecture in the tasting room and impressive quality woodwork is all thanks to Clayton and his personal handy work. The Itz family uses their personal relationship with key vineyards and winemakers from south of the equator to bring their own great tasting creations for you to enjoy. Wines are sourced primarily from the Western Cape area of South Africa, Mendoza region of Argentina, and the Lontue and Curico Valleys of Chile.  Pretty cool wine areas, right?  Just wait until you dive into the many selections of wines available for tasting. Starting off with the Chilean 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, your senses will be enveloped with great citrus aromas and light pineapple flavors. The next white we tried was the 2020 Tres Cielos. This white blend of 59% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Sauvignon Gris and 6% Sauvignon Ver will more than likely set off your spicy senses with the well-balanced nature of these three whites (this one has a bit of Jalapeno on the nose and palate, too). Next up, was the 2020 Chardonnay which was filled with papaya notes, some slight buttery sensation, and finished off refreshing and clean. Like Torrontes?  This Argentinian white from the Mendoza region will please you in countless ways. Full of wonderful floral notes and hints of citrus and pears, what’s not to like about this wine?  For the reds, we enjoyed the 2019 Carménère. This “lost grape” will fill your palate with rich plums, a touch of pepper, and a clean silky finish.  Get ready for a big tasting Cabernet Sauvignon with their 2019 release. With rich red fruit and a heady aroma, this wine is nice with a smooth texture.  For South African wines, we tried the 2017 Pinotage. Garnet in color, the rich black fruit with a smoky texture demands that mouthwatering BBQ you’ve been craving for. For the Chilean Malbec, this 2019 vintage had rich raspberries that lingered along with a savory tobacco finish. Watching the pouring of the ruby red 2018 Cabernet Franc was a vision of delight. Those herbaceous notes teased the nose along with a big firm tannin grip, making this wine not for the lighthearted, but for serious dry red wine drinkers. On the sweeter side, check out the 2019 Moscato. The honeysuckle and floral notes with a hint of citrus helps bring that refreshed feeling on warm summer afternoons. But wait!  Try the 2020 Andean White. This proprietary blend explodes with very rich honeysuckle and grapefruit to round out that tropical sensation. There are more delicious wines to try, so do come check them out and see for yourself. In addition to the inside tasting room, there is a large gorgeous back area that is filled with shady sitting places and juvenile tress plus great views to help put you in that relaxed wine sipping state of mind. This is a great opportunity to try wines with different terroir and varietals not grown in Texas. This should be a safari trip you plan on your next Texas Hill Country adventure.  Salud!

Sparkling wine from Texas is nothing new, but they have been gaining more traction in recent years. Many long-time wine fans of Grape Creek Vineyards might remember that “little known” 2013 Sparkling released many moons ago.  A couple of years ago though, that sparkling endeavor and dream, gave birth to what is now Heath Sparkling Wines.  You will be captivated by the buildings sleek hip architecture and open floor plan.  The full view of the estate vineyards is a great backdrop to have when tasting or sipping the bubblies outside.  Of course, the real show here are the sparkling wines. Made in the Méthode Champenoise way, grapes are sourced from the Hill Country estate as well as their Texas High Plains vineyard partners. Patience is everything with these jewels from the initial cuvée to secondary fermentation. You can expect these bottles to wait 2-3 years before they land in your sipping glass.   Currently, there are four sparkling wines for tasting. Each are paired with a different cheese bite to compliment the tasting experience. First up is the Blanc de Blancs. Made from Chardonnay, this brut style bubbly is clean and crisp with notes of delicious apples and a mouthful of delightful bubbles plus an ever so slight sweet sensation.  The 2018 Euphoria is a blend of 75% Chenin Blanc and 25% Trebbiano. The pale straw color and medium sized bubbles is a great eye catcher in addition to the long-lasting lingering flavors of peaches and melons.  Next in the lineup is the 2017 Ebullience.  It is an old style ramato wine blended with 88% Pinot Grigio and 8% Chenin Blanc. It has a golden color and slight oakiness to it. With medium bubbles, grapefruit will pleasantly greet you with a slight tartness for this extra brut sparkling.  To finish this fantastic tasting, is the 2018 Adoration. Blended with 88% Pinot Noir and 12% Chardonnay, the rose-pink hue, moderate bubbles, and refreshing floral notes will be a great pleaser to finish this delightful tasting.  The staff here a great, knowledgeable, and helpful as they take you thru your journey and show you the bottling experience on the state of art display screens at every tasting bar. They are only exceeded by the quality of the sparkling wines served. International wine competition wins have certainly helped elevate the respectability of what Texas can do with sparkling wine. If you have not stopped in for a visit yet, you should. This is a fantastic venue, with a great team and a beautiful product to share. Come by and enjoy the new wines and meet new friends. Cheers!

The early beginnings of a family-owned boutique winery are perhaps the best times to visit. Everything is new, fresh and the owners are all too happy to tell you everything about their new place.  There is no doubt that the Bilger Family’s heart and soul is in their winery business. Andy and Elena Bilger as well as Andy’s brother Michael, have put much love and wine thought into these big plans.  The family broke ground on their dream of Adega Vinho, Portuguese for “Wine Cellar”, in 2016 and planted their first vines the following year.  Their estate vineyard primarily focuses on about 14 varieties of Portuguese and Italian grapes. Michael Bilger is certainly no stranger to Texas wines. He previously worked under Ron Yates and has now undertaken his own “attention to detail” in every aspect from growing fruit to crafting wine.  Even though it is about a 50-acre estate, the current goal is to establish a sustainable and manageable 20 acres of grapevines. In addition to the vineyard management and wine quality, their goal is to keep production small at 3000 cases per year. With an on-site production facility, maintaining control over all aspects of wine production will be a must for controlling quality. The site was opened to the public in 2020. You will notice the majestic and beautiful vineyard when entering the estate followed by the well shaded oak grove in front of the tasting room. Upon entering the tasting room (besides being greeted by enthusiastic staff) you will likely be mesmerized by the trapezoidal architecture and eclectic art on the walls. Most of the wines currently being served are Texas High Plains sourced.  There is nothing on the wine list that you will be displeased with in our opinion, they are all winners. The 2019 Viognier is a winning combination of fruit, minerality and butter that should make a white wine lover out of you!  The 2020 Tempranillo Rosé is from the estate.  You may be surprised at its full-bodied feel and creamy, smoky notes, but it is a Rosé. The Pordosol is a 50/50 blend of Mourvedre and Tempranillo.  The softer taste and lighter red color help set the mood for an excellent sunset sipper. Their Italian wine, 2018 Sangiovese, has well balanced acids and a fruitiness with cocoa aromas.  One of their early wines, the 2016 Syrah, is a real treat. This rich drinking red has great depth, some spicy notes with a hint of mint, and some lingering chalkiness. It is drinking well but go ahead and lay down some bottles for more surprise sipping in a few years. It seems Tannat is everywhere nowadays, but their dark colored 2018 Tannat is smooth with cherry aromas and a medium finish. Sourced from Newsom Vineyards, the 2018 Tempranillo is still fairly fruit forward with raspberry notes and a touch of smokiness.  Get ready for a superb Mourvedre. The 2017 release is a reserve and explodes with herbal notes and cherries with a lingering tobacco and oak finish. Save the best for last and slowly enjoy the 2019 Grenache. With a hint of orange peel and cinnamon, you may be thinking how many bottles your significant other will let you purchase. The family has plans to offer a field blend of Tinta Cao in addition to a Touriga National.  The owners and staff all feel strongly that Touriga’s future is with their wines. It has been a long dry spell visiting new wineries with the 2020 pandemic, but this was the right visit to get back into the wine groove.  This place is an extra special getaway from the busy US 290 corridor as it sits tucked in on a side road in a lovely quiet spot. It will be exciting to see what unfolds with the Bilger’s piece of Hill Country terroir. We cannot wait to see what the future brings for this very bright beginning. Saúde!

The newest adventures of Nikhila Narra and Gregg Davis at Kalasi Cellars is their latest endeavor into all things grape and wine in Texas. Having already established themselves as one of the top-quality growers of Texas grapes, the expectations of their own line of wines has been eagerly awaited. Although this is her first big step into the Texas winery business, Nikhila is certainly no stranger to the wine industry. Having experience in wine making at Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley as well as wine certification from UC Davis AND a Texas Tech viticulture certification, her credentials are only matched by her inspiration and enthusiasm for this big dream. Like his wife, Gregg has jumped all into this new business with enthusiasm and is not looking back. With experience in business management practices, he can help foster growth and success for this new bright star that recently opened. At 3300 feet in the Texas High Plains AVA, the Davis’s have been setting the bar on sustainable and quality grape growing practices for six years at Narra Vineyards. In 2014, they started with 20 acres of Albariño, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Sangiovese vines. Since then, they have expanded to almost 117 acres including not only Tannat and Tempranillio, but also Malvasia Bianca, Viognier, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc as well as some “rising grape stars” like Carménère, Sagrantino, and Teroldego. And as if that is not enough, they have started a new vineyard on their Texas Hill Country estate with freshly planted Teroldego last May. WOW…right? Using low yielding practices, the quality of each grape varietal at both vineyards will continue to be highly sought after by winemakers. Their commitment to a holistic approach to winemaking is unwavering and you can taste the difference in their inaugural wine releases. There are six wines to try in the fresh new hill country tasting room. The first line of wines to try are called the Heritage Collection. This represents the more common and traditional wines that everybody knows and loves. For the 2018 Roussanne, this stainless-steel aged wine does have a deep golden color and a well-rounded mouthfeel. The “newbie” on the rack is a 2019 Sparkling Muscat. This wine has just a touch of CO2 and was bottle aged for 6-months, giving it a pleasant tingling sensation along with honeysuckle notes that dance and delight across the palate. A great wine for spicy foods or a great summer sipper. Moving on to the reds! The 2018 Sangiovese was aged 18 months in neutral oak. It has good depth, character, great raspberry flavors, and is smooth. Got Malbec? This 2017 release is a big pleaser. It has a medium bodied texture, with cocoa, and cherry notes, making this bold wine a winner! The other two reds are part of their Reincarnated line. These seldom seen and grown grapes in Texas may not be so rare once Nikhila and Greg show the Texas wine world how they can be grown and crafted into great wines. You certainly may have had some good Carménère from Chile, but this “lost grape” explodes with beautiful berry structures and a touch of paprika. Have never heard of Teroldego? This Italian varietal has certainly found a new home here at Kalasi Cellars. With vanilla and tobacco notes, this very deep dark rich red wine will certainly rival many traditional well-known reds. Bring on that locally sourced fatty aged steak for pairing! It goes without saying that this 100% estate and Texas grown fruit is working out quite nicely for this new winery. On the wine horizon will be a Rosé Tannat and a Sagritora – yum and YUM! It was great being there for their opening weekend and we hope to visit again and enjoy spending a bit of time on the patio. They are a great young couple to chat with and they certainly have their hearts and passions in the right place. Do plan to stop by! They have a kitchen, so stop in for lunch and a tasting or snacks and a tasting. We think you will be incredibly pleased with the wines and glad you visited. Enjoy!

Kalasi Cellars

The great expanse of Texas Hill Country wineries seems mind boggling at times.  The new grape varietals, quality of wines, and wine tasting experiences are vastly changing.   Many dedicated Texas wine fans remember the startup of 1851 vineyards a few years ago.  It was a great beginning with a great vision by the Hollimons that many fell in love with.  In 2019, they passed on their dreams to the Jones family.  Under the Slate Mill Wine Collective brand, the love and vision of 1851 Vineyards continues to be expanded along with a number of other independent boutique winemakers.  The Jones are certainly no stranger to the Texas wine industry.  They’ve enlisted the help of many well know Texas wine and vineyard expertise to help expand and elevate the estate to many new levels.  Haven been opened since 2019, your first visual notice is the greatly expanded vineyard site.  You’ll still take the leisurely road through the vineyards (plus all the newly expansive vine rows) and up to the now vastly expanded tasting room and wine making facilities.  The expanded areas of crushing area, winemaking, and barrel rooms gives a whole new meaning to everything is bigger and better in Texas.  Randy Jones can often be found here and will warmly welcome you with top county hospitality.  He is more than happy to tell you about what has been happening, their future plans, and of course, the great wines being served.  Randy sees this has a unique experience, both in wine tasting, company, and scenery.  The expanded wine tasting room includes a water wheel, outdoor patio, and fire pits.  It’s a great new atmosphere and décor to enjoy. The beautiful estate scenery sets the eye appeal for your visit.   The expanded wine making facilities serves not only in-house production, but as an incubator for new startup winemakers.  Tim Drake, now a legend in Texas wines, is heading the winemaking and can often be visibly seen chatting (and chatting and chatting) with customers and telling them about all the cool new wine things he is doing.   It looks like he may have found his new “home” for all things in great wine he wants to do.  Directing the whole “show”, is Jennifer Beckmann, well known and respected Texas sommelier. There are two sets of tasting sessions you can do. One is the 1851 brand where you can enjoy some previous and new in-house 1851 labeled wines.  The Collective tasting allows you to sample some wines from different small independent winemakers. Dandy wines from Wine for the People features a great selection by Rae Wilson. There are also reds and whites from Tatum Cellars made by Joshua Fritsche, who many remember from Williams and Chris Vineyards. Randy Hester has also been crafting some outstanding reds from the C.L. Butaud label, as well.  Selections from Majek Vineyard & Winery and Farmhouse Vineyards will be here, as well, for tasting. Being “new” and if you ask, you just might be able to sample some from both tasting tracks.  Also coming around the corner for Slate Mill is a 2017 Barbera for the Spring, a 2017 Tannat, and a 2017 Petite Sirah/Malbec blend (an out of this world blend!).  Future estate blends are also in the works, so keep your wine glasses close by. In addition to 1851 and independent winemakers, the collective will also include the Slate Theory Winery (not too far down HWY 290 east of Frederiksberg), Re:Rooted 210 Urban Winery (near Hemisphere Park in San Antonio),  and La Bonne Vie Ranch (beautiful ranch venue south of Fredericksburg).  With great people, great grapes, and a great wine, there will be no shortage of great things to come here.  No empty glasses here, as Randy will be sure that yours is full. With the ever fast-changing pace of Hill County wineries, you definitely don’t want to blink, or you will surely miss greatness. With second to none hospitality, this new collective will make you feel right at home. Enjoy, y’all!

IMG_3070 -Slate Mill Wine Collective