Cheers to Texas Hill Country Wineries

by Texas Lifestyle Magazine Team on November 11, 2023 in Food+Drink,

Texas Wine Month was celebrated throughout the month of October with fun fall festivities and wine tastings galore! Texas Hill Country Wineries hosted their annual Texas Wine Month passport event, which had over 45 participating wineries in the beautiful Hill Country. 

This marks the third of four self-guided passport events Texas Hill Country Wineries hosts throughout the year, allowing consumers to experience a world of wine at a variety of participating wineries. With the purchase of a digital passport, ticket holders could taste at up to four wineries per day over the course of the month, as well as receive exclusive discounts on bottle purchases. $5 from each ticket sold went directly to the Texas Hill Country Wine Industry Scholarship Fund. In total, more than $55,500 has been awarded to 47 Texas students working towards a degree in Viticulture, Enology or Hospitality.

Photo courtesy Stone House Vineyard.

If you missed out on the tastings in October, you can still participate in the Texas Hill Country Wineries Christmas Wine Affair. This event begins on Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 22, with 25 days to visit up to four wineries per day. Tickets are $65 individually, or two for $100. 

For more information and a list of participating wineries, click here. You can also now find a map of participating wineries on the THCW website.

Below are just a few of the wineries that the Texas Lifestyle Magazine team visited in October.

Pedernales Cellars

Photo courtesy Pedernales Cellars.

On Oct. 14, around noon the annular solar eclipse passed through our country, with Texas in the path for viewing. Pedernales Cellars hosted an eclipse viewing party, which was the perfect opportunity to use the Texas Hill Country Wineries passport to do a tasting along with it. Pedernales Cellars provided eclipse glasses and had live music and as always, great views and wine. It was a great place to be for the rare event. They are hosting another eclipse event on April 8, 2024. 

About an hour and a half away from Austin, Pedernales Cellars is a family business that began with Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken, who planted their first vineyard near Fredericksburg in the early 1990s. In 2005, Larry and Jeanine’s children, David and Julie began plans for what would become Pedernales Cellars. Grown from the success of Kuhlken Vineyards, they developed the concept for a boutique winery focused on handcrafted, small-lot wines, and working with varietals that thrive in the rugged Texas Hill Country terrain.

The tasting menu includes a 2021 Viognier Reserve, a 2002 Over The Moon Rose, their red 2019 Valhalla, a 2020 GSM Melange, and a 2020 Lahey Vineyards Tempranillo. Each one is unique and delicious, but the Valhalla stands out with its non-traditional, Italian-style blend. It has notes of cherries, blackberries, raspberries, rose petals, leather and sage and is great with poultry or pasta. 

Pedernales is also proud of their sustainability efforts. “Sustainability starts with our winemaking facilities, which were designed to take advantage of the natural insulation of limestone and the humidifying and cooling Hill Country soil for barrel storage of wines. Our cellar and case storage facility are cooled via a geothermal cooling system reducing cooling energy by half.” They also make efforts by conserving water in the vineyard, supporting local products, and keeping up with the grounds. 

Farmhouse Vineyards Marketplace & Tipsy Trailer

Photo courtesy Farmhouse Vineyards.

Your first stop on the 290 wine trail, Farmhouse Vineyards in Johnson City is about an hour from Austin. Owned by The Seatons & Furgesons, the vineyard is comprised of eight generations farming 7,000 acres of Cotton, Peanuts, Black Eyed Peas, Hemp, Melons, Pumpkins, Various Grains, Dorper Sheep & Premium Texas Wine Grapes. 

With their signature 1978 airstream trailer in the spacious outdoor patio, Farmhouse Vineyards is a great place to spend a sunny fall day. They also have an adorable and cozy inside area, where you feel right at home. You can cozy up on a couch with your favorite wine and their complimentary fresh popcorn. 

Farmhouse Vineyards grows fruit for some of the largest wineries in the state of Texas down to the most boutique. “Our flagship white grape is “Malvasia Bianca.” She is a rare and beautiful delight found in our Boyfriend, Farmers Wife, House Wife, Sweet, & Holly Dolly. Our flagship red grape variety is “Counoise” (Tablas Creek clone), found in our Cultivated & Revolution. Farmhouse Vineyards was the original planting of this variety in Texas and remains the most significant commercial producer.”

“Something notable about Farmhouse Vineyards is, as growers, we feel that comparison is the thief of joy and have decided not to enter award competitions. The goal is that we want our clients to win with our fruit.”

Flat Creek Estate

Photo courtesy Flat Creek Estate Winery & Vineyard.

The second oldest winery in Texas, Flat Creek Estate is a beautiful 80-acre property outside of Austin that features a tasting room, outdoor pavilion and The Bistro Restaurant. Owner Eva Horton’s leadership has created an inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy Flat Creek’s award-winning wines. The estate is also available for weddings, rehearsal dinners and corporate events.

Several different varietals are grown at Flat Creek Estate. The grapes are harvested, fermented, and aged at the vineyard resulting in several extraordinary wines. Pinot Grigio is their signature white wine. The 2020 Reserve Pinot Grigio is a smooth wine with a palate of peaches and hints of Granny Smith apples. Another favorite is the robust red Super Texan. It is often referred to as the “Italian Cowboy” and goes great with BBQ.

If you’re unable to make it out to Flat Creek Estate, their wine is now available for purchase at select retail locations across the Lone Star State.  A new collaboration with Southern Glazer’s, the preeminent distributor of beverage alcohol, brings six of Flat Creek’s wines to fresh palates throughout Texas.

“We’ve had visitors from all over trying and singing praises for our wines,” says Flat Creek Estate Owner Eva Horton. “This relationship with Southern Glazer’s is just the start to make our wine accessible to more people to create flavorful memories from our vineyard to their homes. Stay tuned as we continue to expand our offerings to a wider audience.”

Wedding Oak Winery

Photo courtesy Wedding Oak Winery.

Wedding Oak Winery has three tasting rooms you can visit in Burnet, Fredericksburg, and San Saba. Their roots run deep in Texas – literally. Wedding Oak Winery is named after the 400-year-old oak tree near the San Saba winery. Local Native Americans revered the tree and often held ceremonies and weddings under the majestic oak. Settlers carried on the tradition, hoping the tree’s magical canopy would bless their unions. Wedding Oak Winery captures that spirit celebration in their wines today.

At Wedding Oak Winery, they believe that the best wine is the one you love because taste is subjective. However, they recently won several awards at international competitions, including “Best of Show Texas White Wine” at the  San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition for their 2022 Roussanne. This award-winning wine has flavors of vibrant lemongrass that take center stage, accompanied by the refreshing zest of grapefruit and a hint of ripe banana.

At the Lone Star International Wine Competition, three of their wines were awarded “Best in Category” – 2021 Primitivo, 2021 Sangiovese and 2021 Tempranillo Reserve. Earlier in the year, their 2020 Tioja won a platinum medal at the TEXSOM Awards.

So when visiting Wedding Oak Winery, whichever wine you consider to be “the best”, you can also be assured that the quality of wine is outstanding according to a panel of expert judges.

Cover Photo Courtesy Flat Creek Estate Winery & Vineyard.