There is always excitement in the Hill Country when the cool breeze ushers in fall and wineries are wrapping up the harvest season. As you hit the road to Fredericksburg and surrounding areas, plan to visit some of these new spots.
By Jennifer McInnis
Tours and shuttles
Kick back, relax and let someone else do the driving. A 290 Wine Shuttle 15-person van picks up and drops off every 30 minutes at the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Center between 10a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Visitors are also allowed to board the shuttle from one of the participating wineries, including 4.0 Cellars, Becker Vineyards, Grape Creek Vineyards, Hilmy Cellars, Inwood Estates, Mendelbaum Cellars, Pedernales Cellars, Torre De Pietra and Woodrose Winery. An all-day pass costs $19.99. A list of personal shuttle and limo service tours is available at www.visitfredericksburgtx.com. Click on “Book a Tour” under the planning tab.
New on the trails
Fiesta Winery, 18727 W FM 580 in Lometa, 325-628-3433, www.fiestawinery.com
What started as a home winemaking project for the Baxter family has quickly grown into a full-time operation with multiple tasting rooms. The original winery in Lometa is on the Texas Hill Country Wineries trail, and there are two new tasting rooms in downtown Fredericksburg at 147A E. Main St., and outside Fredericksburg at 6260 E. U.S. 290 in the historic Rocky Hill complex.
Hilmy Cellars, 12346 U.S. 290, 830-644-2482, www.hilmywine.com
Erik and Neldie Hilmy built the winery and planted the vineyard themselves. The tasting room has a welcoming feel with rustic and industrial touches that transport you outside of Texas. The wines focus on varietals that are up and coming in Texas terroir, including chenin blanc, tempranillo and vermentino and viognier.
Lewis Wines, 3209 U.S. 290 W., 512-663-6468 by appointment only, www.lewiswines.com
Doug Lewis, 26, cut his chops working at Pedernales Cellars and opened a winery nearby that features wines made with only Texas grapes. The winery does not yet have a tasting room, but Lewis hosts tastings by appointment.
Six Shooter Cellars, 6264 U.S. 290 E., 830-428-0810, www.sixshootercellars.com
This newly opened tasting room features wines from wineries across the state, including Blazing Barrels (Lubbock), Clear Creek (Kemah), Cowtown (Fort Worth), Cross Timbers (Grapevine), Retreat Hill (Navasota) and Yepez (Baytown).
Wedding Oak Winery, 316 E Wallace St. in San Saba, 325-372-4050, www.weddingoakwinery.com
Co-founder Mike McHenry and winemaker Penny Adams are both longtime grape growers in the state. Wedding Oak Winery is smack in the middle of the San Saba restoration projects.
Established in 1880, the town of Hye is rich with history. Through preservation efforts, residents are encouraging visitors to celebrate its past and look into its future.
The Hye Market and Hye End Tasting Room, 10261 W. U.S. 290, www.hyemarket.com
The market is adjacent to the post office, founded in 1886, where Lyndon B. Johnson mailed his first letter when he was 4 years old. Jason Cook took over the existing liquor store and is updating the selection to feature mostly Texas liquors, beers and wines from beyond the 290 corridor. Eventually, he plans to add a restaurant and host more events. The daily tasting bar offers samples of Texas beer, wine and food items, such as spices, relishes and dried meats.
William Chris Vineyards, 10352 U.S. 290, 830-998-7654, www.williamchriswines.com
Founded by Bill Blackmon and Chris Brundrett, the wines are made using only Texas grapes, including chenin blanc, blanc du bois, mourvedre, malbec, cabernet franc from their own Granite Hill Vineyards and vineyards from the Texas High Plains and Hill Country. The winery hosts live music every Saturday, and its Hye Society wine club offers early notice of special events and dinners.
Hye Meadow Winery, 10257 U.S. 290 West, www.hyemeadow.com
Newly opened Hye Meadow Winery has 2012 vintages of viognier and orange muscat that feature grapes from the Texas High Plains. The tasting room is open daily.
Cabernet Grill, 2805 Texas 16
Features an all-Texas wine list paired with wild game, steaks and seafood by executive chef and owner Ross Burtwell. Reservations can be made through the website: www.cottonginlodging.com.
Otto’s, 316 E. Austin St. in Fredericksburg:
There’s a new dinner spot in town that pays homage to the city’s German and European heritages using local and sustainable ingredients. The menu changes frequently, but you’ll want to try the Flammküchen. Visit www.ottosfbg.com for hours and more information.
Wine Time in Hill Country – My San Antonio; Jennifer McInnis, 9/26/13