Take an hour drive out toward Fredericksburg – almost any route will do – and you’ll soon see indications of one of the more popular ways to enjoy an afternoon just outside the Lake Travis area.
Wineries abound in this part of the Texas Hill Country, and whether you’re a novice or self-proclaimed connoisseur, a day spent tasting the local offerings is a day to enjoy.
A wine tour can be as short and simple or elaborate as you care to make it. You can go with a friend or significant other for the day or plan an entire weekend getaway around the wine tastings.
You’re likely to see all sorts of visitors showing up in everything from touring motorcycles to stretch limousines. In fact, some limousine companies help plan your tour and include tasting fees in their costs. Also, most vineyards offer secluded rooms for private wine tastings planned ahead of time.
However you plan your wine tour, always designate someone to get you there and back. Although wine tastings alone don’t offer huge servings, all those little sips add up and a friend who doesn’t drink wine or a paid driver are your best and safest bets.
When starting your wine tour, whether as a group or as a couple, take a moment to look around. There is likely a unique story at each winery and you can research this beforehand or find out along the way. Everything from the labels and tasting rooms offer a peak into life on a vineyard — Texas style.
Winery staff members can tell you about the selections being offered, as well as answer questions. They’ll serve and let you enjoy your own conversation, or engage you with their knowledge about everything from sampling snacks to the wine makers.
Most tastings offer options, depending on your preference of white or red wine, and you’ll usually get to sample an ounce or less of about six different wines. There’s no need to rush. You can enjoy walking the grounds and purchasing bottles to take home or open and sip before leaving.
Each stop on your tour will be unique, but there are some common elements. For example, many places will refund your tasting fees when you make a purchase (usually three bottles or more). You can usually shop onsite for special gifts and, of course, wine. And most locations offer wine clubs where members join for free and pay discounted rates for wine shipments. Membership usually affords you and a friend free wine tastings on future visits.
Here are a few Texas Hill Country Vineyards for you to check out:
William Chris Vineyards
Get a taste of “Hye Society” at this winery in Hye, Texas (about 50 minutes west of Austin on Highway 290). William Chris Vineyards boasts a century-old farmhouse and plenty of scenery. Tastings cost $10 a person.
Grape Creek Vineyards
Keep your glass as a fun and useful souvenir after you’ve enjoyed a little “Tuscany in Texas” in Fredericksburg. Complete with limestone structures and tile roofs, Grape Creek Vineyards tastings are $12 a person.
Four Point Cellars
Located in Fredericksburg, Four Point Cellars is a collaboration of three Texas wineries: Brennan Vineyards in Comanche, Lost Oak Winery in Burleson and McPherson Cellars in Lubbock. The tasting room is large and open with plenty of sitting areas outside, as well.
If you need to brush up on your wine basics before you head out on a Texas Hill Country Wine Tour, go check out the Wine Lovers Page and learn how to taste wine like an expert.