Texas Wine’s Well Kept Secret

by Sally Martin on April 1, 2016 in Living Texas, Austin, San Antonio,

Mason, Texas is the home of the first ever-high school viticulture program in the state. The soil is some of the best in Texas for growing grapes. Sandstone Cellars Winery has established themselves in Mason but other producers and growers like Compass Rose Winery, previously housed in Mason, have joined the ranks of the wineries on the wine trail along Texas Highway 290, leaving Mason with a strong base of Texas growers but few tourists to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and the majority of grapes grown in Mason are sold to Texas wine producers who are based elsewhere.

The small town Texas charm thrives in this area. Photo by Michael Miller
The small town Texas charm thrives in this area. Photo by Michael Miller

Brock Estes, owner of Fly Gap Winery in Mason County has created an event to allow wine enthusiasts to see the roots of Central Texas grape producers. He and other local growers are hosting the first wine weekend in Mason on April 9th. The Mason Wine Tour will allow a rare peek into the vineyards where many Texas grapes originate and encourage tastings and pairing from participating wineries.

The event kicks off at 11:00am on April 9 on the east side of the Mason Square. Visits will be made to both Robert Clay Vineyards and Sandstone Cellars for tastings and tapas before departing to Fly Gap Winery for a winery tour, where barrel tastings will be offered along with tapas.

Pontotoc, Texas in Mason County is the next stop. Pontotoc, which was the original home of the San Fernando Academy, is now basically a ghost town. Dotson Cervantes Winery is also housed in one of the historic structures in Pontotoc. Tastings and pairings with tapas will be held with wines from both wineries in the quaint and rustic ghost town before returning visitors to their starting point in Mason.

There are many quaint bed and breakfasts owned by local residents in town but no major hotel to accommodate large groups of visitors to the area, so this adventure could make for an amazing getaway. You won’t find throngs of people shopping on the square or have to fight crowds to experience this small Texan town. Trailers full of cattle and old cowboys sitting on benches can still be seen on the streets and sidewalks around the courthouse.

In addition to this unique opportunity to experience grape and wine production in a small group, the bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers are likely to be in their full regalia on the tour date. If this sounds like a getaway for you then contact Brock Estes for more information or to make a reservation.