The open road is calling. And it’s good news. There’s still time to take a walk on the wild side to catch roadside views of eye-popping native wildflowers on your way to Texas Hill Country wineries.
That’s right. The annual Wine & Wildflower Journey presented by Texas Wine Trail started March 22 and continues through April 16. One passport ticket invites you to taste at 42 participating wineries at your own pace throughout the duration of the event. Spring forward!
Passports This Way!
Your passport ticket can be purchased HERE and also includes great discounts on bottle purchases. When guests arrive at the tasting rooms their “digital passport” ticket will be scanned by a tasting room associate. Some locations conduct tastings solely at a bar area while many others have indoor and outdoor options. All wine tastings will be poured by a tasting room associate. (Mask protocols and social distancing information HERE.)
Tips on Touring
The Texas wine country is vast, so the best way to tackle each winery day trip is to study the map on the event website for all of the wineries. Find a group of wineries clustered together in one region so you can easily visit multiple wineries each day trip.
While food is not included in the passport ticket, most wineries offer light fare/food for purchase. Make sure to check out the event website for details at each winery. Some wineries require reservations and have restricted hours during the event. Below are a few highlights along the way.
Located in the Texas Hill Country between Fredericksburg and Stonewall, Becker Vineyards was born in 1992 by Richard and Bunny Becker. The vineyards, surrounded by fields of lavender, are open for wine tasting, tours, wine gift purchases (check out the lavender soap), and picnics with light fare for purchase. Situated in the 19th century German stone barn reproduction, Becker is known for its award-winning Bordeaux, Burgundian, and Rhone-style wines.
Pro Tip | Reservations required, please call the winery; no parties larger than 6.
Texas is one of the oldest wine-growing states in the country with vines planted more than a hundred years before they were planted in California, believe it or not! But Prohibition virtually destroyed the Texas wine industry, which remained dormant until the 1970s when pioneers like Ed and Susan Auler opened Fall Creek. Don’t miss their high-quality flagship wines including a dry Loire-style chenin blanc, new low alcohol and calorie Lescalo white, rosé of merlot, tempranillo, chardonnay and Bordeaux blends. Winemaker Sergio Cuadra celebrates his eighth vintage with the winery.
Fall Creek Vineyards at Tow | Fri-Mon; for groups over 8, call (325) 379-5361 for a reservation.
Perissos Vineyard & Winery
Located in Burnet about 65 northwest of Austin, Perissos Vineyard & Winery sits on 16 acres of rolling hills with breathtaking views. The bulk of the wines are produced with estate-grown grapes with varietals including viognier, Roussanne, grenache, sangiovese, malbec, tempranillo, syrah and petite syrah. They recently introduced the Gratis line of three varietals and donate 90% per cent of each sale to a Texas charity. Enjoy the garden, patio, live music, light fare and more.
Ron Yates Winery
Ron Yates Winery’s award-winning tempranillo is just one of many Texas tempranillos that are making a mark nationwide. A visit to the winery with vineyard views, a tasting pavilion and light fare offers a taste adventure of Spanish, Rhone and Italian style wines including grenache rosé, viognier, sangiovese and cabernet. Winemaker-to-watch Ron Yates also owns Spicewood Vineyards, another participant in the tour specializing in tempranillo, albariño, sauvignon blanc and merlot.
Pro Tip | Reservations required.
Texas Wine Collective
4.0 Cellars, the unified tasting room, retailer, and wine club featuring Texas wine pioneers Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery and lauded McPherson Cellars, has relaunched as the Texas Wine Collective in Fredericksburg. The move elevates Texas wine to new heights through enhanced vintner collaboration, expanded tasting room capacity, and new guest experiences.
Pro Tip | Sun-Fri only; Reservations required.
Westcave Winery & Brewery
Westcave Winery & Brewery sits on the 290 Wine Road near Hye, Texas, halfway between Johnson City and Fredericksburg. Crafted in the French style, the wines are made from 100% Texas grapes. Get a taste of the viognier, sangiovese, white blend, cabernet sauvignon and red blends along with a small bites plate.
Pro Tip | Not available Saturdays; Reservations strongly suggested; no parties larger than 6.
Driftwood Estate Winery
One of the closer wineries to central Austin, Driftwood Estate Winery still boasts beautiful views and a large outdoor seating area shaded by trees. Varietals to taste or purchase include albarino, chardonnay, cuvee blanc, merlot, Malbec, tempranillo and more. Driftwood has its own bistro, but it’s also near The Saltlick Barbecue in case you have out-of-towners in your posse who just can’t resist picking up barbecue for dinner.
Pro Tip | Not available Saturdays; no groups over 4.
Thanks for supporting Texas wineries, ya’ll!
Cover photo courtesy Texas Wine Trail
Robin Barr Sussman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.