Life as a Bon Vivant, well for me anyways, includes learning all about food and wine. How to best pair them together, how the grapes are grown and even enjoying a cigar in the vines. I am excited to share with you some of my favorite elevated wine experiences in the Texas Hill Country. One thing I love about the wineries in Texas, is they make wine approachable. Wine and wine tasting does not need to be intimidating and most of the people working at wineries love to share their knowledge with you. If you have a question, please ask.
You will find that most of the recommendations below include some type of food and wine pairing, if not, there is an educational component that is next level. Ready? Let’s go!
Food and wine pairings can be an overwhelming amount of information. To make them less intimidating and more approachable in your mind, let me clear some thing up. I believe, drink what makes you happy. If you want to drink white wine with beef, go for it! I believe in, eating and drinking whatever your heart desires.
That being said, food and wine pairings are designed to elevate your experience. The right combination will bring out the best in both the food and the wine. The basic rule in doing a food and wine pairing is to taste the wine, taste the food, then taste the wine again. You will notice a difference as the wine is enhanced and the flavors in the food will explode.
There’s the old saying what goes together, grows together, or what grows together goes together. Honestly, I don’t know which way goes but the concept is the same. Here in Texas we like to pair barbecue and Tex-Mex with a lot of the wines that grow here in this hot climate.
Another example that stands out in my mind is our experience in Italy. Last year when my husband and I spent time in the Emilia-Romagna area of Italy, we experienced Lambrusco. Most of the food that comes out of that region of Italy pairs well with Lambrusco. Lambrusco is THE wine of Emilia-Romagna. We had tried Lambrusco in the United States and had been extremely disappointed, so I was hesitant. I was happily surprised at how wonderful Lambrusco can be!
Trust me, there was a reason why this wine works well with the food of this region. Lambrusco pairs perfectly with prosciutto, Parmesan cheese and Bolognese. Lambrusco is a dry, sparking, red wine. The light body of this wine helps cut through the fat that is predominant in this region‘s food. Fat is not always a bad thing in fact, in Italy, it is a bragging right. When we cooked with Raffa in Modena, that is what she opened for lunch, like it was a bottle of coca-cola.
Back to the Texas Wine Country. I hope you will check my recommendations for experiences below. If you go, please let me know in the comments. I love to hear about your wine adventures.
William Chris – William Chris is located in Hye, TX. Smack dab in the middle of Wine Road 290. They offer a lovely food and wine pairing called the Vineyard Table. The tastings are generally held in their beautiful wine library which is appropriate because there is a lot of education involved. The pairings change seasonally. My Bon Vivant heart loves that they use herbs and veggies grown on property, in the large garden behind the pavillion. The last time I attended at Vineyard Table tasting, I was with my friends high school friends Carolyn and Sonja. We experienced 5 wines and 4 different good-sized bites. I would suggest this tasting early in your day as it is enough food for a meal. Reservations are needed. You can make them here. The cost is $75 or $50 for members.
Lost Draw/Park Street – We are so lucky that Lost Draw has two locations, one in Fredericksburg on Park Street and one in Johnson City (see more about that location below). The Park Street location is smack dab in the middle of Fredericksburg, behind the H-E-B. Lost Draw has such a relaxed and fun atmosphere and they also make incredible wine. Lost Draw Park Street now offers a Food and Wine pairing, sharing 4 wines and small bites. Check the schedule but the music is usually playing outside at this wine oasis. A reservation is needed for this particular tasting and you can make them here. The cost is $40 or $25 for members.
French Connection – Winemaker, Ben Calais, makes incredible French style wines. They are highlighted in at the beautiful tasting room in Hye. French Connections Food and Wine experience is wine paired with a curated French-inspired charcuterie board. Their charcuterie boards is one of my favorites offered in the Hill Country. Enjoy the beautiful view overlooking the hills of Hye, while sipping these exceptional wines. Reservations for this tasting are required. You can make them here. The cost is $45.
Ab Astris – This winery is one of the prettiest, yet most relaxed wineries in the Hill Country. Located behind the LBJ Ranch (That is Lynden B. Johnson for you non-locals), off of Rt. 1 in Stonewall. Their wine sommelier shares a unique experience on Sundays. She shares 4 wines and 4 bites in this tasting. A reservation is required and you can make it here. The cost is $40 or $30 for members.
Uplift – Winemaker, Claire Richardson, is knocking it out of the park at this beautiful estate winery located on the Colorado River in Burnet, TX. When you arrive at Uplift you immediately slow down and embrace this unique wine experience. With over 50 acres of vines, they are the backdrop as you travel through them on a golf cart, wine in hand, out to a table in the midst of the vineyard. This is where you begin to hear the story of the vineyard, the terroir, the wines and the AVA. You continue to tour around the vineyard and back to the beautifully understated tasting room. The wine tasting continues with a unique hands-on food pairing before you thieve wine from the barrel. Reservations are required and you can make them here. The cost is $50.
Lost Draw – Lost Draw opened their tasting room in Johnson City in the early winter of 2023. Sitting back off of the highway, behind the beautiful vines, you will find this gorgeous tasting room that screams Hill Country style. Lost Draw Johnson City offers a unique tasting experience, only available on Saturdays, called “Grape to Glass”. This tasting takes place while walking through the gorgeous vineyard. If you want to learn all about the the growing of great wines from a vineyard manager, this is the tasting for you. You can book the experience here. The cost is $45 and $25 for members.
Siboney Cellars – There are many things about this winery, located on Wine Road 290 in Johnson City, that make it unique. Their tag line, “Just You Wait” is what Siboney Cellars is all about and for good reason.
First off, they have the BEST Cuban sandwiches out there. They are only available two days of the week so keep that in mind. The first time they are available is on Thursday night. Thursday Twilight Tasting Hours vary by season but are generally from 5:30 ish to 9:00 ish. The location of this tasting room is perfect for watching the sunset and enjoying a cigar down in the vineyard under the twinkle lights.
The second time they offer Cuban sandwiches are on Mondays. Take note, make a reservation and order in advance. The charcuterie board they offer is also one of my favorites in the Hill Country. It is a perfect addition to any tasting.
The Premium Estate Tasting and Tour is available by reservation. This includes a full tasting along with a tour of the facility and beautiful grounds. The cost for this tour is $40 per person.
This offering of unique wine experiences in the Hill Country would not be complete if I did not mention the Domino Day Pig Roast. This monthly event is a unique experience like no other. There is a domino tournament, Cuban coffee, live music, prizes and of course a roasted pig buffet. Not to mention cigars and port are also available to knock it out of the park.
All of these offerings at Siboney require a reservation and you can make them here. The cost for Domino Day is $45 per person.
I have so much to share about the wine here in the Hill Country. If you are looking for more information, please check out my blog post here.
I think the Texas Hill Country is the perfect place to dip your toe into learning about wine or diving in to learning all about the terroir, grape growing process and ways of celebrating all that is Texas.
Wherever you decide to try, please share in the comments below.