Catherine Prystup - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

Catherine Prystup

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Fireworks light up the night sky every Fourth of July to celebrate our nation’s independence. If you’re looking for festivals and fireworks in the Austin-area, this handy roundup of events, brought to you by Springfree Trampoline, has lots of happenings this Fourth of July.

As an alternative to heading out to a celebration or festival, gather your friends and family to celebrate in your backyard! Turn your backyard into the ultimate fun zone this Fourth of July with a Springfree Trampoline. Take advantage of the 4th of July sale and save up to $798 when you get two free accessories! Plus, delivery & installation is only $99, regularly priced at $299! Offer ends July 7, 2019.

Bastrop Patriotic Festival

When: Saturday, June 29, 2019, from 8 am – 11 pm

Where: Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow St., Bastrop

This family-friendly even celebrates our Nation’s Independence with food booths and children’s activities, live music, a pet parade, a water wonderland, fireworks, and more!

Round Rock Express Independence Day Celebration

When: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at 7:05 pm

Where: Dell Diamond, 3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock

Join the Round Rock Express on July 3 for the biggest fireworks show of the year, presented by eBay.

Liberty Hill Independence Day Spectacular

When: Wednesday, July 3, 2019, 6-10pm

Where: City Park, 251 CR 200, Liberty Hill

Celebrate freedom with your Liberty Hill neighbors! Music, Contests, Food Trucks, Fireworks – Fun! This family-friendly event features tons of fun activities including an Apple Pie and Homemade Ice Cream Contests, Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest, Hot Dog Eating Contest, Beach Ball Drop, numerous children’s activities, Kids Splash Zone, food trucks, and a variety of entertainment, including an outdoor concert featuring the Spazmatics, and much more.

The fun begins at 6pm, and a spectacular 30-minute fireworks show will start at 9:30pm.

A Star-Spangled Fourth

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 10 am – 5 pm

Where: Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Dr., Austin

Join the fun at this star-spangled Independence Day festival featuring an array of family fun — historical exhibits, music and a colorful display of independence flags. Regular admission will be charged. Red-white-and-blue historical exhibits, farm animals and “popcorn” readings of the Declaration of Independence are planned, along with music and other other old-fashioned festivities straight from the 1800s. Plan to come early and stay late for this old-fashioned weekend outing that replicates the family-friendly summer holidays in Old Texas.

H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 8:30pm

Where: Vic Mathias Shores, 800 West Riverside Drive, Austin

Spend this Independence Day with 100,000 of your closest friends! Central Texans will hurry to claim their grassy spot with the Austin Symphony Orchestra this July 4th for the largest Independence Day Celebration in the state. Tens of thousands of families will be decked out in red, white, and blue and heading down to Vic Mathias Shores (formerly Auditorium Shores) this July 4th for an amazing event complete with a fireworks display over the city skyline backed by symphonic patriotic classics.

  • Order and pick up a pre-packed picnic from Fareground before you head to the event.
  • Reserve a kayak and head out to be dazzled by the fireworks display over Lady Bird Lake from the best seat in the house – your boat! More info here.
  • Before you head downtown to the firework display, stop in for a Backyard BBQ at Scholz Garten. There will be music by DJ Giant Hornets from Japan spinning from 2 to 6 p.m, have hot dogs, barbecue, burgers, beer specials, a snow cone machine, Biergarten games and free popsicles. 

Leander’s Liberty Fest

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 6-10pm

Where: 449 San Gabriel Campus Drive, Leander

Celebrate Fourth of July at Liberty Fest! Located east of the ACC San Gabriel campus, Leander’s largest annual event includes live music, food, children’s activities, and a spectacular fireworks display. Admission is free.

Doc’s Drive-In Theater 4th of July Festival

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 2-7 pm

Where: Doc’s Drive-In, 1540 Satterwhite Rd., Buda

Enjoy all day music line up, BBQ, food and drink specials, children’s activities, yard games and more. Stay late for our FIREWORKS & FLIX event at the end of the day! Simply purchase your drive-in movie ticket and enjoy the fireworks show before the movie! Drive-in or bring a blanket or chairs to sit under the stars.


Wells Branch 4th Fest

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 10 am-3 pm

Where: Katherine Fleischer Park, 2106 Klattenhoff Dr., Austin

The day begins with a short parade starting at KF Park at 10am. Spectators are welcome to line the street to watch. When the parade returns, there’ll be an afternoon of entertainment under the big tent, concessions from local restaurants and community service groups offering a variety of items to enjoy, and activities for the kids around Katherine Fleischer Park. KF pool will be open and free to the public as well.

Round Rock Frontier Days Festival & Parade

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 9 am – 11 pm

Where: Old Settlers Park, 3300 Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock

The Sertoma July 4th Parade, fireworks, carnival rides, jalapeno pepper eating contest, Swifty Swine Pig Races, children’s games, Sam Bass Shootout, Movies in the Park are all part of the City of Round Rock’s July Fourth Frontier Days Celebration. This year will feature an even grander firework show! The event is FREE!

Georgetown’s SERTOMA 4th of July Celebration

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 11 am – 11 pm

Where: San Gabriel Park, 455 E. Morrow St., Georgetown

Come celebrate SERTOMA’s Annual 4th of July Family Celebration in San Gabriel Park, sponsored by the Georgetown Sertoma Club. Entertainment will be provided for the entire family! Activities begin at 11 a.m. at San Gabriel Park with live entertainment throughout the day from noon to 10:30 p.m., featuring Austin Party Band before and after the fireworks show. The festival also includes arts and crafts vendors, food vendors including a beer and wine vendor, a petting zoo, classic and antique cars, games, and rides for children and adults. Admission to the event is free; however, there are fees for some activities.

Farm’s Fun Filled Foam Fest

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm

Where: Sweet Eats Farm, 14400 E State Hwy 29, Georgetown

Come enjoy the holiday at Sweet Eats Farm with a foam machine! There will also be fun farm activities including a petting zoo, pony ride, jump pad, face painting and much more!

Cedar Park’s 4th of July Parade & Celebration

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 10 am (parade) 5-10:30pm (celebration)

Where: Elizabeth Milburn Park, 1901 Sun Chase Blvd., Cedar Park

The parade begins at 10 a.m. The route is along Discovery Blvd, starting at the H-E-B Center (Discovery Blvd and New Hope Dr) and ending at the Cedar Park Recreation Center. The celebration begins at 5 p.m. and takes place at Elizabeth Milburn Park. The event will feature live music, bingo, a washer tournament (at 4 pm), air castles, laser tag, free watermelon and a fireworks display. Fees apply for food concessions, carnival games and carnival rides.

Pflugerville’s Pfirecracker Pfestival

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 5-9:30pm

Where: The Pfield, 1440 W. Pecan St., Pflugerville

Celebrate July 4th with pfun and pfamily in Pflugerville at the Pfirecracker Pfestival. Returning this year to the Pfield, you can enjoy music from Suede, food trucks, a kid’s area and of course… fireworks! PFREE!

Kyle’s Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks Show

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 6-9pm with fireworks at 9:30pm

Where: Plum Creek Golf Course, 4301 Benner, Kyle

The pre-show celebration at the PCGC Clubhouse is free to the public and includes live music and fantastic viewing. Hot dogs and cold drinks will be sold under the large tent, along with other snacks.

Hill Country Galleria Independence Day Celebration

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 4-10pm

Where: Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Suite T-100, Bee Cave

FREE Independence Day Festival on Thursday, July 4th with local art vendors, live music, barbecue, festival food, fair rides & games, and of course fireworks! Brought to you by Special Events Live, producers of Austin’s beloved Pecan Street Festival. Parking and admission are always free.

Red, White and Buda

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 8:30 am – 10 pm

Where: Buda Sportsplex, 310 Buda Sportsplex Dr, Buda

Celebrate Independence Day with us at our annual Red, White & Buda celebration. All the fun starts at 9:00 AM with a patriotic parade on Main Street, followed by festivities in the downtown Buda Greenbelt. Those festivities will last until noon. Line-up for the parade starts at 8:30 near the old City Hall at Main and Houston. In the evening, come out to Buda Sportsplex for food, entertainment, and fireworks. The fireworks show starts at 9:30pm!

Family Fun: 4th of July Party at Catch Air

When: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 9 am – 7 pm

Where: Catch Air’s two locations at 13450 N. Highway 183, Ste 107, Austin and 1401 S. Interstate 35 Highway, #130, Round Rock

Both locations will be decorated in red, white and blue for a fun 4th of July themed celebration! Get 1 free cup of bluebell ice cream per paid admission (while supplies last), raffle of 4th of July themed prizes at 11a & 4p, fun photo booth set up and dance parties for the little ones to have a blast!

Welcome to 365 Things Austin’s Wine Guide. An immersive experience in all things related to Central Texas Wine. Below you will find articles around Texas Wineries, local restaurants with great wine lists, expert opinions from our partner sommelier, Sam Hovland, and much more. 

The Central Texas Winery Guide

Get out and experience Texas terroir at nearby vineyards and tasting rooms. 

Austin Bars and Restaurants With Great Wine Lists

Whether dining out or looking for a wine-focused bar to enjoy a glass or a bottle, these Austin restaurants and wine bars will not disappoint with their selection of wines.

Austin Wine Specialty Stores

Whether you’re looking an expensive bottle for someone special, the inside scoop on the best bang for your buck, or a chance to expand your palate, a specialty wine shop is the place to go.

Sam’s Somm Corner

Sam Hovland has worked in the Texas wine industry for more than 20 years and received his International Sommelier Guild Diploma in 2005. You can find his expert articles on Texas Wine here…

365 Things Austin Wine Features

Upcoming Wine Events

(Coming Soon)

Wine Focused Bachelorette Party Ideas

(Coming Soon)

Advertising

Want to see your wine-related business here? Email Catherine@365ThingsAustin.com for current opportunities. 

Lewis Wines, owned and operated by Doug Lewis, is located in Johnson City on 100 acres with lovely Hill Country views. Just a little over an hour from downtown Austin, this stop on the Wine Road 290 is one to not miss. They offer a large variety of Texas grown reds, whites, roses and dessert wines.

There’s ample outdoor seating on a sprawling deck with tableside service and a wine tasting bar inside their tasting room, making this is a great winery to visit with a large group in tow or for just a couple of people.

Their wine tasting room is open to walk-ins as well as reservations (recommended on weekends) that can be made online.

How did you start making wine in Texas?

While I was working for Pedernales Cellars I got the opportunity to make some wine on the side. They had extra space in the storage building, Duncan (my business partner) and I setup a makeshift lab with a sink and kept around 20 barrels there.

How would you describe your winery’s style? Do you consider your winemaking approach different from others?

Our style is evolving as our understanding of growing grapes and winemaking develops. But it has always centered on the philosophy that making great wine starts in the vineyard. With respect to that, we try to match winemaking style to what makes the most sense given the variety, the soil, the vintage (weather), harvest logistics, and who is farming it.

Maybe that’s pragmatic? Most of the time we’re shooting for an honest representation of that grape variety from that farmer in that vineyard, but not always.

Swim Spot, for example, is an easy drinking wine that we all love making and drinking, and it is usually a blend of fruit from east Texas and the High Plains, but has had fruit from the Escondido Valley and Hill Country in the blends as well, just depends on the vintage.

Not really about making a wine that tastes like where it was grown as it is making an easy drinking, refreshing, low-alcohol wine for our 3-9 months of summer.

What do you feel signals a good Texas vintage? How involved do you get in the vineyard?

Not losing significant crop to freeze, frost, or hail. Having rain in reasonable amounts, spread out across the growing season. As involved as possible, that’s where a lot of understanding a vintage comes from. We farm our own vineyard and are involved in varying degrees with several of our growers, sometimes more than we’d like.

What is your current favorite varietal to make wines from?

Tough question. Mourvèdre, Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo, and Tinto Cão are all in the lead.

What other Texas wineries are you liking? What global wines / winemakers / regions are inspiring you?

Tough question again, there are too many to name them all, but most of the members of Texas Wine Growers are on my short list. There are way too many wines, winemakers, and regions that inspire me to cover them all.

I really love European wines, so many are so well worked out and representations of great traditions in farming and winemaking. I honestly feel like they’re my benchmark for quality wine. That being said, I get the most excited about American wines that reach that benchmark.

For example, I really love Riesling, and have been lucky enough to drink a lot of great Riesling from places like Germany and Austria, but it is the great Riesling from the Finger Lakes that I tell the most people about and that I’m the most excited about.

What is the hardest thing about making wine in Texas?

Managing harvest and not having an established identity.

What is the thing that you like most about making wine in Texas?

The people. I’m blessed to work with many amazing people on a regular basis. Working together through the challenges of growing seasons and harvests has been an incredible experience that has taught me a lot.

Lewis Wines
3209 Highway 290 West
Johnson City, Texas 78636

More information about Lewis Wines can be found on their website: http://www.lewiswines.com/.

How did you start making wine in Texas?

We started making wine experimentally in our garage from 6 vines that we planted next to our house in Austin. Then we planted 3 small test vineyards on 3 different soil types in the Texas Hill Country. Initially, we harvested the fruit and actually made the wine in our garage.

With the knowledge and experience gained during that time, we determined that grape growing and winemaking were what we truly aspired to do, so we began looking for land, seeking out a specific soil-type. In 2003, we found that soil in Hoovers Valley, near Burnet, Texas, and purchased the land.

We planted our first vines in 2005 on that site and, in 2006, constructed our winery. We opened our tasting room in 2009. We have since added on to our tasting room, winery, and vineyard. Currently, we have 16 acres of vines, and will be planting 2 more acres in 2020.

How would you describe winery’s style? Do you consider your winemaking approach different from others?

At Perissos, our philosophy is farming first and being True to Texas. We have never made a wine with fruit that wasn’t either grown on our estate or grown right here in Texas. As growers, our goal is to bring our fruit to complete ripeness before harvesting.

While the Texas weather throws us quite a few curve balls, we have several methodologies that have proven successful. First, we treat our vines to a special organic compost mix each year, reinvigorating the soil with organisms that ultimately encourage healthy vine and fruit growth.

We limit our fruit load to allow the vines to ripen fully. Finally, we strive to wait until we can truly taste the varietal characteristics in the berries before harvesting. Waiting longer to harvest sometimes results in the consequence of having less fruit.

This is a risk that may yield less wine, but at the same time, also yields in our opinion better wine. This is a risk we are willing to take. In the winery, we take most of our wines through malolactic fermentation, yielding a much smoother wine.

Image credit: Jeremy Wilson, Perissos Vineyards

What do you feel signals a good Texas vintage? How involved do you get in the vineyard?

On our Estate vineyard that we planted, we are 100% “hands on” from pruning the vines, to shoot and fruit thinning, managing irrigation and nutrients, leaf pulling in the fruit zone, insect management, bird netting, and finally testing the fruit chemistry weekly leading up to harvest and then harvesting and processing the fruit.

The perfect scenario for a good Texas vintage begins with well-nourished soil. Add to that a fair amount of rain and sunshine early on in the growing season. The vines should be pruned such that the fruit-load is not too excessive.

Then, pray for just a little rain from mid-July through harvest. And no hailstorms! If all of those conditions are met, most likely the resulting fruit will express varietal correctness, along with the unique characteristics of the Texas terroir.

That being the case, the work to be done in the winery post-harvest will be straightforward. Basically, as the winemaker, I would just coax out whatever the vineyard offered to us that particular season and finish the wines in a balanced manner.

What is your current favorite varietal to make wines from?

We have discovered, on our soil in the Texas Hill Country, that Mediterranean varietals do well, and especially Italian varietals. From both a grower and winemaker perspective, Aglianico is one of our favorites.

In the field, it grows well and ripens well, flourishes with extra hang-time, and is not too vigorous. In the winery, very little manipulation is required with Aglianico.

It falls closely within our target range for both sugars and acids. And in the bottle, it is beautiful! Our Estate Grown Aglianico has won two Best of Class awards at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

What other Texas wineries are you liking? What global wines /winemakers / regions are inspiring you?

Texas really has become a viable wine grape growing region. We’ve learned what ripens effectively here, and there are several Texas wineries producing quality fruit and quality wines. We are particularly passionate about those wineries that are crafting wines – beautiful, award-winnings wines — from Texas-grown fruit.

Did you go to school for winemaking / vineyard management? Where did you study, and for which qualification?

All of our winemaking and grape growing knowledge has been self-taught. We’ve done a lot of research and reading. And, a great amount of our knowledge has come from experience. Part of that experience involved failure.

Essentially, if and when we would make a really bad batch of wine, we’d send out samples to various laboratories in order to find out what went wrong with the wine. We would take that make to the proverbial drawing board, fix it, and not make that mistake again.

What is the hardest thing about making wine in Texas?

Weather/climate, and perception.

What is the thing that you like most about making wine in Texas?

Winemaking is romanticized in the movies. In real life, it is work – hard work…especially in Texas. It is farming. And farming is affected significantly by weather, soil conditions, pests – the flying, crawling, disease-carrying kind and the feathered, furry kind. And yet, there is something so rewarding about working in the vines.

Pruning them, training them, coaxing them to yield just the right amount of fruit. Spiritual lessons abound. Then, at harvest, getting to see that fruit go through crush, yielding its juice. Placing that juice in a barrel and waiting, sampling, waiting more, then bottling. Finally, pouring that nectar into a glass. It truly is a delight. A satisfaction that never grows stale.

Image credit: Jeremy Wilson, Perissos Vineyards

Perissos Vineyard
7214 Park Road 4 W
Burnet, Texas, 78611

If you build it, they will come. Benjamin Calais, native of Calais, France, built The Cave – a winery, tasting room and cellar built into the side of a hill in Hye, Texas. Located about an hour outside of Austin and on the way to Fredericksburg, this hard-to-find winery has some definite hidden gems in their 100% Texas-grown wines.

There are no signs leading you to The Cave at Calais Winery, and when you figure out where to turn, the adventure continues as you drive onto the property to find the cave. There’s not a bad or so-so wine at Calais, and, since the wine is not sold anywhere other than onsite at the winery, it’s our recommendation to stock up while there.

Wine tastings are available by appointment only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for groups of 1-10 people.

Calais wine cave

How did you start making wine in Texas?
As a side business 11 years ago when I came to the US for a computer security job.

How would you describe the winery’s style? Do you consider your wine making approach different from others?
We try to express terroir by intervening as little as possible in the winery. We run the whole winery on gravity flow without using pumps. Our style is defined by what Mother Nature decides, it varies greatly year to year.

What do you feel signals a good Texas vintage? How involved do you get in the vineyard?
We are very involved on the growing side. I feel that wine quality happens in the vineyard. A good season for us would be no frost damage and a longer growing season.

What is your current favorite varietal to make wines from?
Cabernet Sauvignon

What other Texas wineries are you liking? What global wines / winemakers / regions are inspiring you?
It’s getting hard to pick. Quality is going up significantly the past few years. My main inspiration is Bordeaux, specifically on the right bank side St Emilion, Pomerol.

Did you go to school for wine making / vineyard management? Where did you study, and for which qualification?
I didn’t, however, I have a varied science background so that side was easy to learn. Understanding the vineyard side of this takes a little longer since we have such different seasons/climate events every year.

What tips would you pass along to aspiring winemakers?
Save money, this is a very costly hobby.

Is there a favorite wine from your winery that you have made?
We started making Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc last year that turned out really great.

What is the hardest thing about making wine in Texas?
Frost/Hail potential, you can’t make wine without grapes

What is the thing that you like most about making wine in Texas?
There’s a complete freedom of expression in Texas Wine at this point. Many wineries do different varietals so everyone is experimenting a lot with varietals and techniques. It’s a really great time in Texas wine history as quality is progressing rapidly.

Any other comments you would like to share?
We only sell at the winery so come visit.

Hard to find but worth the hunt!

Calais Winery
8115 US 290 West
Hye, Texas, 78635

You can find more information and book a wine tasting at https://www.calaiswinery.com/.

Grapes that do well in Texas Heat

Texas had the first vineyards in the US, a century before California and Virginia. While Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are widely planted, grapes that do well in the sunny Mediterranean, including mainstays of the Iberian Peninsula, Southern France, and Central Italy, can also produce great wines here in Texas. There are a few winery examples included.

The whites include Albarino, grown in Spain and Portugal famously, and Blanc du Bois, a hybrid crafted in Florida specifically to deal with hot weather and humidity. The bright acid of Picpoul Blanc (Bending Branch), Roussanne (McPherson), and drought resistant Viognier (Brennan Cellars) are Rhône varieties from France that can handle the heat and the wind, with their sibling Marsanne seen as well. Vermentino is an Italian varietal that has shown promise (Duchman Family), and Pinot Grigio seems to adapt well. Muscat Canelli has been a West Texas tasting room staple for quite a while.

Italian red varietals have been a favorite for me in the past, with good examples of Sangiovese making the rounds. Montepulciano, Aglianico, and Dolcetto (Duchman Family) will also get more attention, I hope. From South West France the grape Tannat has appeared (Bending Branch again has a good example), as well as the much more prominent Rhône varieties of Grenache, Syrah (Shiraz in Australia), and Mourvèdre. Tempranillo from Spain is growing well in lots of spots around Texas and being made in many styles (Pedernales Cellars).

100% Texas

From the older House Bill 1514 and the newer House Bill 4233 that includes a five year roll-out, the 100% Texas wine label debate and proposed legislation is one of the biggest trends that I see in the Texas Wine industry. The 100% Texas label would be utilized for wine from grapes grown in Texas, versus the current 75% law, which has an 85% minimum for American Vinicultural Area designation (like Texas High Plains or Texas Hill Country). In 2017, The Texas Wine Growers (TWG) including the wineries William Chris Vineyards, Calais Winery, Hawk’s Shadow Winery, Lewis Wines, Lost Draw Cellars, Perissos Vineyard and Winery, Pontotoc Vineyard, and Westcave Cellars were accepted into The Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place Names and Origin, joining 23 other wine organizations worldwide at the time.

Image credit: Jeremy Wilson, Perissos Vineyards

There would also be special consideration in the legislation for short vintages in which the Agriculture Commissioner could allow for inclusion of grapes from other states. This will mainly serve to clarify labeling, as wineries would still be able to use grapes from whatever source they wanted to secure them, just without claiming Texas on the label. The new law would quickly enable consumers who want to support the Texas wine industry to see who was using all Texas fruit. Hard work at the AVA level could potentially preclude the need for legislation, but in my experience it has often been a challenge as ​a wine buyer to track down the information about where the grapes are really coming from.​

I spent the holidays in France this past year, and I wanted to bring some Texas-grown wines to give out as gifts to our friends and family who we were visiting. With the holidays always being so hectic, I didn’t have much time to research award-winning Texas wines, so I just grabbed a few bottles off the shelves of my local HEB and off we went. This lack of knowledge about our Texas wines grown so close to home gave me an idea to ask our resident expert, sommelier Sam Hovland, to compile a list of his favorite Texas wines for 2019.

Whether you are looking for a good bottle of wine to crack open on your porch this summer, or if you’re looking for an impressive bottle of wine to give as a gift or bring to a party, the list below is a great starting point for Texas wines.

SPARKLING

William Chris Petillant Naturel Rosé 2017 – an entertainingly explosive Pet Nat with lots of lemon, blood orange, grapefruit citrus and raspberry with less ripe strawberry notes and watermelon Jolly Rancher. Incredibly fun. Available online for $25, Royal Wine Merchants, NY.

Farmhouse Vineyards West Texas Boyfriend 2017 – Texas High Plains – 100% Malvasia Bianca. Grassy, herbal notes and green fruit. Palate is a pretty balance of tropical fruit, stone fruit, and tree fruit. Very dry with bright acid. Available for $28 from the winery and online.

McPherson Cellars Chenin Blanc – Being completed with Texas still wine in California with Kim McPherson’s brother Jon. Bright, dry, and pleasantly yeasty from less contact. Available at some HEB location and online ($12.99) as well as online at the winery.

WHITE

A mild winter and then a spring with no late freeze and plenty of rain led to one of Texas’ best harvests in terms of quantity and quality in 2017, with all of the fruit in before Hurricane Harvey hit. In fact, Harvey helped push dry air into the Texas High Plains, lessening summer storms there.

Lewis Wines Swim Spot 2017 – A long-time affordable favorite from the Blanc du Bois cross made in the style of Portugese Vinho Verde with a bit of CO2 spritz. This vintage had a bit of Albarino from the High Plains. Has been available in Austin retail and on wine lists with a nod to Texas wines.

Brennan Vineyards, Texas, Newburg Vineyard, Reserve Viognier, 2015Ripe with lots of white floral character without being perfumed. Pretty big and full of pineapple and orange and lemon citrus. White peach. Best of Class at the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. This was the second reserve Viognier release, and they formed a closer in tasting room with other Texas High Plains wineries in Fredericksburg, Four Point Cellars, a few years back in 2012.

Perissos Lucy 2017 – Roussane, Viognier, and Muscat Canelli come together for a creamy and French Oak aged blend. This is a larger boned Texas white that ages well. All estate fruit from their Library Block. Sustainable. $36 at the winery.

ROSÉ

I’m a huge fan of rosés from and for Texas, especially with our 360 day season!

Lost Draw Cellars Texas High Plains Cinsault Rosé 2017 – A subtle harmony of red and black fruit with a bit of orange on the nose. More ripe and dark on the palate. Juicy, sunny, mineral, and fresh. Available for purchase at the vineyard in Fredericksburg and at Austin-area Total Wine & More for about $17.

Fall Creek Vineyards 2017 Texas Hill Country Grenache Rosé 2017 – Vintner’s Selection 100% Grenache from the Hill Country. I think that Fall Creek is really firing on all cylinders and there is a juicy tangelo sweet tart acidity that skips along with the deeper stone fruit on the body. Ed and Susan Auler are supporting the new(ish) winemaker Sergio Cuadra and I really like the results. The Austin Wine Merchant has been carrying the wines… Around $30.

Llano Estacado 2017 Signature Rosé With grapes from the High Plains and the Hill Country a Rhône blend of Cinsault, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Grenache. Lots of fruit and aromatic character; Strawberry and citrus and melon on the palate follow a more peppery, light herbal note on the nose. Bright and clean finish. Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buy. Only $10. Total Wine & More Cedar Park, has been at Spec’s also.

RED

Using the right varieties in hot central Texas has led to great showings from nearby vineyards, with one made from High Plains fruit thrown in as well. The Southernmost American Viticultural Area, The Texas Hill Country AVA is the second largest in the US, after the Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA.

Perissos Vineyard and Winery Dolcetto – Diamante Doble Vineyards – Texas High Plains Ripe black and red fruits with a cherry pie palate rounding the acids and finishing with a dark spice note. All Texas-grown fruit, purchased from Meadow, TX. The 2015 is available for purchase at the vineyard for $48

Pontotoc San Fernando Academy 2015A blend of Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, Merlot, Malbec, Mourvèdre, and Tempranillo. Nose of currant jam, pepper, and mint. On the palate there is brambly red and black fruits and toasty oak. Made with fruit from the Texas Hill Country. Pontotoc wines are available at the winery in Fredericksburg and at Central Market grocery stores.

William Chris Vineyards, Texas Hill Country, ‘Mandola Estate Field Blend’ 2014 From the vintage with late spring freezes that William Chris began managing the vineyard in Driftwood. Ripe red fruits balance the acidity of the Italian varietals, with a medium weight structure that lets you appreciate the complexity. While this vintage is probably all sold, I would watch for this blend in more recent vintages. A Texas Wine Journal Top Wine of 2015.

Whether you’re looking an expensive bottle for someone special, the inside scoop on the best bang for your buck, or a chance to expand your palate, a specialty wine shop is the place to go. Knowledgeable salespeople will take the time to share their expertise with you in a way you won’t find in the grocery store wine aisle.

A fun assignment: Visit your nearest shop and ask for help finding a “house” red and white for you to serve at home. Be ready with a price point and some of your favorite characteristics. When you find the perfect wines, buy a case of each. (Hint: Most specialty wine shops will give you a case discount.)

Austin Wine Merchant
512 W 6th St, Austin
512-499-0512  

Extensive collection of wines from around the world. Our favorite time to shop is on Saturdays during their wine complimentary wine tastings.  

Avery Ranch Wine & Spirits
10510 West Parmer Lane, Suite 118, Austin
512-341-0166  

This local wine and liquor shop offers weekly wine tastings and local delivery.  

Somm by Epicure
1025 Cannon Drive, Ste. 105, Dripping Springs
512-858-0660  

This recently opened wine store in Dripping Springs also offers cheese and charcuterie, in addition to over 300 wines from around the world. Their extensive wine list is available online with pricing – shop before you even go to the store.  

Stanzeski’s Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie
103 N. Austin Ave., Suite 310, Georgetown
512-876-0422  

Located close to downtown Georgetown, this wine store offers wines from Texas and around the world. The wines are carefully curated to pair with the cheese and meats that are also sold at the store. Classes are offered for those interested in learning more.  

Texas Reds & Whites Tasting Room
407 Red River St., Austin
737-703-5540  

This wine tasting room specializes Texas wine and offers tastings by the glass or flight. Pick your favorite and buy a bottle or two. Texas Reds & Whites Tasting Room offers curbside service for their wine club members (bonus!) as well as monthly events.  

Travis Heights Wine and Spirits
1948 S IH 35 Frontage Rd, Austin
512-440-7778
 

Small production wines and expertise are readily available at this neighborhood store. They offer free tastings three times a week as well as local delivery.  

Urban Wine & Liquor
200 Congress Ave., Austin
512-480-9463  

Wiggy’s Wine & Spirits
1104 N Lamar Blvd., Austin
1130 W. 6th St., Austin

Opened since 1973, this wine and spirits store has a large variety of product in addition to two humidors. They deliver in Travis county for a small fee.

Westcave Cellars, owned and operated by Allan and Margaret Fetty, is nestled on 9-acres in Round Mountain, Texas. The Fettys lovingly tend the vines by hand and create old-world wine inspired by French wine growing traditions.
 
Located about thirty minutes from Austin, Westcave Cellars has a tasting room and a large outdoor space that’s perfect for picnicking or just relaxing under the shade of the oak trees while sipping on a glass or two of wine. Live music is scheduled most Saturdays in the outdoor area.
 
Their award-winning red and white wines are available for purchase in the wine shop located inside the tasting room.
 
 
How did you start making wine in Texas?
We planted our first vineyard in 1999. We sold grapes to other wineries for 10 years. During that time, we made small (5 gallon) batches and moved progressively to larger batches – 30 gallon. In 2010 we kept all of our grapes and made wine to sell in our tasting room which opened in May of 2011.

 
How would you describe  the winery’s style? Do you consider your wine making approach different from other Texas winemakers?
We typically make Varietal wine and only recently have played with blends. Our style is very old-world style: dry and chalky, age-able wine that can be aged for many years. Most wineries focus on blends and “drink-it-now” wines.
 
What do you feel signals a good Texas vintage? How involved do you get in the vineyard?
No rain from June to mid-September. We have 9 acres of estate vineyard, 3 acres leased in Wimberley and 10 acres that I manage in Driftwood. I am in the vineyard every day and we have an estate wine labeled “Vigneron”.
 
What is your current favorite varietal to make wines from?
Currently favoring Merlot but like Vermentino, Sangiovese, Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.
 
What other Texas wineries are you liking? What global wines / winemakers / regions are inspiring you?
Calais, Lewis, Perissos, Lost Draw….. French Bordeaux, Rhône, and Italian
 
Did you go to school for wine making / vineyard management? Where did you study, and for which qualification?
Extension classes at UC Davis, Seminars, and peer consulting.
 
What tips would you pass along to aspiring winemakers?
Start with a large fortune and be patient. Strive to improve one thing every year.
 
Is there a favorite wine from your winery that you have made?
‘15 Reserve Cab and ‘15 Reserve Sangiovese and the ‘16 Tannat.
 
What is the hardest thing about making wine in Texas?
Low acidity in the grapes. Frost and hail in April, rain in August.
 
What is the thing that you like most about making wine in Texas?
Emerging market challenges. Doing what others say can’t be done.
 
Any other comments you would like to share?
Start with a large fortune and work hard.
 
 
Westcave Cellars
25711 Hamilton Pool Road
Round Mountain, Texas 78663
 
You can find more information about Westcave Cellars on their website: https://www.westcavecellars.com/.
 

Wineries in Texas are not one-size-fits-all. Some are small, family-run, and homegrown, whereas others are large, professional, and polished. Some use grapes grown in their own vineyard, and some use grapes brought in from other places.

But most Texas wineries are in it for the love of the finished product, so no matter the type of winery, you’re likely to find a bottle you like there. Keep an open mind—Texas isn’t California, and doesn’t want to be, so while it’s nice to stop into a well-appointed tasting room, don’t cheat yourself by missing the funky, offbeat places. Below you’ll find a few Texas wineries of every kind, all within a two-hour drive from Austin.

Becker Vineyards
464 Becker Farms Rd, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
(830) 644-2681

Becker Vineyards is one of the larger wineries in the Austin-area, and their wines are readily available in most grocery stores and liquor stores across the state. We’ve even spotted Becker wine at our local Costco. A visit to the winery not only offers a picturesque Hill Country setting with unique structures but also an opportunity to purchase wines that are not available in retail stores.

Calais Winery
8115 W US Hwy 290, Hye, TX 78635
(830) 213-2124

This hard-to-find winery is well worth the hunt. If you’re looking for an experience with some world class wine, plan to book a wine tasting in the hand-built wine cave. Calais wine is only available for sale at the winery, so plan to stock up while visiting.

Duchman Family Winery
13308 Farm to Market 150, Driftwood, TX 78619
(512) 858-1470
Listed by HGTV as one of the 20 most picturesque wineries in the country, Duchman Family Winery offers wine tasting of all of their current releases on beautiful grounds. The 100% Texas-grown, Italian inspired wines are also available online.

Flat Creek Winery
24912 Singleton Bend E., Marble Falls, TX 78654
512-267-6310

This 80-acre vineyard estate offers guided wine tastings in their onsite tasting room, overnight accommodations, a Texas-Tuscan bistro, and a disc golf course.

Hilmy Cellars
12346 E. U.S. Highway 290, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624
(830) 644-2482

The small tasting room at Hilmy Cellars offers a nice option for indoor wine tasting or outdoor seating with a glass of wine in hand and a view of the vineyard. If you get a chance, say hello to the farm dogs who are onsite and love some attention.

Lewis Wines
3209 W US Hwy 290, Johnson City, TX   78636
(512) 987-0660

Lewis Wines offers wine tasting inside or table-side service on the large patio. This is a great spot for an outing with friends or for an intimate date with your loved one.

Perissos Vineyard & Winery
7214 Park Rd 4 W, Burnet, TX 78611
(512) 820-2950

Perissos offers a variety of wine tasting options – from a casual tasting in the tasting room to farm and cellar tours, as well as a Farm to Table tour offering wine pairings with gourmet charcuterie.

Pontotoc Vineyard Weingarten
320 W Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
512-658-0023

Visit the Pontotoc Weingarten, located in the heart of downtown Fredericksburg, on weekends to taste the full range of wines grown from Texas grapes.

Vinovium
214 Edmonds Ave, Johnson City, TX   78636

Vinovium offers Texas wines on tap and stays open late, a rarity for Fredericksburg-area wineries. With several monthly events in rotation, this is a good spot if you’re looking for a winery after dinner.

West Cave Cellars
25711 Hamilton Pool Rd, Round Mountain, TX 78663
512-431-1403

A little closer in to Austin, West Cave Cellars is an award-winning winery that has an onsite tasting room, a large outdoor area with events scheduled most Saturdays. Be sure to ask about joining their wine club.