We are finally having a little bit of 'fall' weather here in the Texas Hill Country. Today was a breezy 87 degrees. We took advantage of the near perfect day to visit a couple of wineries. This was our second time to make a 'wine tour.' A few months ago we headed toward Fredericksburg and stopped at Woodrose Winery and Becker Vineyards. We did not know that there was no food of any consequence on site at the vineyards. We stopped first at Woodrose and tasted their wine then went on to Becker. After tasting the wine and buying a glass each, we were in serious need of food. All they offered for sale was goat cheese and crackers. We tried to eat the cheese but, what can I say? It tasted like the goats from which it came. We cut our day short and went to find food. We discovered that the vineyards have beautiful picnic areas and people are encouraged to make use of them.
Armed with the knowledge of the picnic areas, today we packed bread, cheese, prosciutto and some other munchies along with a few bottles of water (drinking wine can be dehydrating), and headed out toward Wimberley.
Our first stop was Bella Vista Ranch. This combination vineyard/winery/olive orchard is off Jacob's Well Road. We wound around the small county roads and almost missed it. Texas wines don't have the very best reputation. However, every bottle we tasted could hold its own with just about any wine I have ever had. We bought a bottle of cabernet sauvignon that was the best we had ever tasted. It was the only wine priced over $15.
Bella Vista is the first olive orchard in Texas . We got to listen to the last part of a lecture on how it is pressed and got to sample a little. I now know more about olive oil than I thought there was to know about olive oil. We bought a bottle and I am looking forward to using it on pasta and as a dipping sauce for bread from Phoenicia Bakery. They also had some wonderful balsamic vinegars. We sampled the blackberry pear infused balsamic. YUMMMM!
We took our food out to one of their picnic tables. They do not have the best picnic area of the wineries we have visited so far but, we got to watch a mama cow try to keep the vultures away from her calf that had been born this morning. I'm sure that they were wanting the afterbirth but she must not have known that. She was aided from time to time by a gelding who was in the same small pasture. Wine, lunch and a show. Can't beat that.
Next we went to Driftwood Vineyards. The view from their picnic area is fantastic. We sat in the chairs pictured on the website and the view is exactly as it appears in the photo. The wines from this vineyard were more tannic than we would have preferred. The owners were very nice. We bought a stopper system to keep wine after it is opened and got some advice on how t o keep it fresh for a few days. This was worth the stop for us because we never finish a bottle of wine at one sitting and ,therefore, don't drink very much of it. I have started some red wine vinegar so I will have a place to put left over wine and won't feel as though I am wasting it.
We did all of this and never got more that forty miles from south Austin. There was another winery we had thought about going to but decided to do it another day. A trip to the Salt Lick followed by a side trip to a winery is ad adventure to look forward to.
If you decide to go a winin', you need to take a little cash. Most of the tasting rooms charge $3 to $5 for their tastings which usually consist of five to six wines. I heard the woman at Driftwood tell a couple that they could share but I have not heard that anywhere else. Becker Vineyards will let you taste some of their wines at no charge but you can pay a fee and taste the premium wines. They also have a lavender farm but I have not been there in the spring when it is blooming. Their wines are very, very good.
Soundtrack for this post: Red, Red Wine, Roy Drusky version.