17 Ways to Celebrate Texas Wine Month
Support local winemakers and raise a glass to these favorite Texas wines
Texas Wine is having a moment, and we love it! Sure, Texas wineries have been growing and producing wines for decades, some quite successfully, but the Texas wine boom has seen the Texas Hill Country grow from a handful of wineries to a bustling collection of hundreds of diverse wineries and vineyards. October is Texas Wine Month, and we are raising a glass of our favorite Texas wines to celebrate.
As Wine For the People’s Rae Wilson puts it, “The Texas wine scene has grown by leaps and bounds in the past ten years, in both the number of wineries and the quality of the wines we are making.” Amen to that! Here are 17 great ways to support our local wineries and winemakers and enjoy Texas Wine Month
1. Buy a Texas Wine Trail Passport.
Texas Hill Country Wine Passport offers an all-in-one Texas Hill Country wine tasting extravaganza that lasts all month long. With this passport, you can visit at least forty-five wineries for a free tasting and bottle discounts. Use it any time from now through October 31.
At $85 for an individual passport and $120 for a couple passport, it’s a heck of a value and one of the best ways to explore multiple wineries. Be sure to make reservations for your complimentary tastings and tip your servers well for this annual, month-long event.
2. Take a guided tour of Texas wine country.
Try Cellar Rat Wine Tours or Texas Tipsy Tours. Kick back and leave it to an expert — and enjoy the benefits of a designated driver. These tours are great options for groups. With either tour outfit, you can choose from a pre-set winery tour or ask them to customize one for your group.
3. Get dressed up and have a posh night out at a Texas wine dinner.
Most of these are annual events, so if you miss them this year, keep an eye out for next year! Our top picks include these Texas winery dinner events:
- Spicewood Vineyards Paella Party: On October 21, enjoy paella and wine, together again, just the way they are supposed to be served. Paella and wine are a match made in Spanish heaven, and it’s exciting to have a taste of it here in Texas.
- Fall Feast Vintners’ Dinner at Pedernales Cellars: Saturday, October 28, join Chef Jared Campbell and Winemaker and Owner David Kuhlken talking about the wine as they serve each course and pairing.
- Lewis Wines Fall Dinner with Feast & Merriment: On October 14, Lewis Wines will pair new releases, customer favorites, and past vintages with an elegant, seasonal, five-course meal at Feast & Merriment event space in Stonewall.
4. Take a ride on the Texas Wine Month Train.
Enjoy a themed Wine Train as the Austin Steam Train Associations takes you for a ride in a historic train car to Wedding Oak Winery in Burnet, Texas. This is a 2-hour train ride from Cedar Park with a wine tasting with a stop at the original Wedding Oak Winery’s 1888 Badger Building in Burnet. There passengers will have two hours to tour the tasting room at the winery and can buy additional wine and food before taking the train back to the Cedar Park Depot.
5. Attend an Annular Solar Eclipse Party at a Texas winery.
On October 14, there will be a rare, ring-of-fire type of solar eclipse, the annular solar eclipse. Several Texas Hill Country wineries are primed to have an excellent view of this celestial phenomenon, and some are even pairing their viewing parties with Texas Wine month new wine releases. Here are just a few for your consideration:
- Ring of Fire Over Duchman: Join this event in Driftwood, Saturday, Oct. 14 at the elegant Duchman Family Winery. Expect local vendors, live music by Robert Cline Jr, followed by Deuce Bennett, and an outdoor bar serving wine in commemorative Eclipse Wine Tumblers.
- Texas Wine Month All Star Eclipse Party: Texas Heritage Vineyard in Fredericksburg is hosting a release of two new wines, the 2022 Viognier and 2019 Carmenere, while observing the annular solar eclipse. Food will be available and live music will be performed by Texas artists Jeff Posey, John Greenberg and Mike Blakely.
6. Visit a nearby tasting room or restaurant that exclusively serves Texas wine.
Local supports local, and these businesses walk the walk when it comes to showing support to Texan winemakers. Bobo’s Snack Bar and Dai Due in Austin, the Texas Hill Country Tasting Room, in Driftwood and Cabernet Grill in Fredericksburg are all committed to serving only Texas wines as well as locally sourced food. Support these small businesses, and feel good about bolstering the local economy and local love.
7. Visit a winery right here in Austin–no need to leave the city limits.
Austin wine geeks’ hearts started beating faster when we heard that Rae Wilson, Owner and Winemaker of Wine for the People, making La Valentía and Dandy Rosé wines, moved her tasting room into the city proper. Wine For The People is now at Spread & Co. in central Austin, a beautiful pairing of the restaurant, open for breakfast and lunch, and the tasting room, open in the evenings. Often, Wilson is there herself, serving wines and regaling guests with entertaining stories incorporating Texas wine education, the history of the Texas vineyards where she sourced the grapes, why she chose which grapes, the makeup of the wine, and more fun details.
Additionally, they have a limited, wine-friendly noshing menu of Spread & Co. favorites. Check out La Valentía’s new release event on October 20, featuring a 2022 Fire Oak Red, a single vineyard blend of 75% Mourvèdre and 25% Carignan and a Chenin Blanc.
The Austin Winery at The Yard is a solid bet for all lovers of Texas wine. This modern spot with concrete floors, raised ceilings, and exposed rafters is a casual hang, but that doesn’t mean they are not passionate about their wine! Co-founders Ross McLauchlan, Cooper Anderson, and Matthew Smith take their winemaking very seriously, even if their wine names reflect the fun, youthful vibe their winery gives off (Friends With Benefits, Spaghetti Western, and Work Horse).
RELATED: How Austin Winery Handles Harvest Time
For something fun, at The Austin Winery, try their Pink Salt—a funky, natural, low intervention rosé blended from Texas High Plains grapes. This Texas Wine Month, they will be releasing a new vintage of one of their old standbys, Work Horse Merlot, and then a single-varietal Mourvèdre, with an Albariño release not far behind. The Austin Winery also makes a mean cheese plate, with Antonelli’s cheese and Sour Duck Market’s sourdough bread, and the excellent Reem’s Falafel food truck is right outside, too.
8. Buy a bottle of Texas wine.
Maybe this is stating the obvious, but with every decision to buy local, we are supporting the local economy and professing our love for that Texas terroir. If you want to try a new release or a more limited run wine, buy a bottle at a winery. You can also buy one or several bottles not only at the wineries themselves but out in the real world. Ask at your local wine shop or liquor store to see their Texas wines.
H.E.B. and Central Market also carry an impressive selection of Texas wines. While the wines out on the market are not the reserve vintages nor the limited edition varietals, they often are a reflection of some of that winery’s long-standing crowd pleasers. There’s nothing wrong with a tried-and-true Texas classic like a Bending Branch Tannat or a Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo.
9. Listen to a Texas Wine podcast.
Have a listen to the This Is Texas Wine podcast to learn more about Texas wine and hear the movers and shakers of the Texas Wine industry share their stories with host and established wine writer, Shelly Wilfong. Shelly has been working in wine writing for a long time and knows the industry inside and out, so she really gets to the heart of the story, and every episode includes some of the latest news as well as an interview with winemakers, vineyard managers, and/or winery owners (often one person fulfills more than one of these roles in a Texas winery).
10. Read a Texas Wine Blog.
Texas Wine Lover is a dedicated Texas wine blog with maps and winery listings, plus Texas wine industry news and awards. Founded by Jeff Cope, and now co-owned by wine writer and aficionado, Amie Nemec, this blog keeps Texas wine lovers in the know. The winery listings on the website are also listed in the new Texas Wine Lover mobile app.
11. Visit the Texas Hill Country’s newest Winery, Invention Vineyards.
Be the first one on your block to visit Invention Vineyards in Fredericksburg, the latest from the Heath Family Brand. Invention sits on 35 acres of estate vineyards, making it one of the largest vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. They produce estate wines made with grapes exclusively from the estate vineyards at Grape Creek or Invention Vineyards. They also make Texas wines made with grapes sourced from the Texas High Plains.
Invention has released seven vintages so far. They have two full production wineries in Fredericksburg, and they craft all of their wines on-site. Their tasting room is modern, spacious, and airy, with lots of natural light.
12. Plan Your Own Texas Hill Country Winery Tour with The Vind app.
This fairly new app helps you create curated itineraries for Texas Hill Country wineries (and more) in Blanco and Gillespie Counties.
13. Join a Wine Club.
This is the true bread and butter for any winery. Wine Club Members are there in the flush times and the lean ones. For most Texas wineries’ wine clubs, members get access to exclusive wines, have first dibs on other wines, and access to free special events. Wine club pickup parties are big to-dos for the wineries, with wine tastings and often wine education sessions with the winemakers or winery owners. Wine club members also get the best discounts, complimentary tastings, and all around love from the wineries.
Not ready to commit to only one winery? Join the Texas Wine Club for curated, mixed boxes of Texas wine. They also hold special blind tastings, like Texas vs. the World, and other events.
14. Participate in a virtual wine tasting.
While the world has thankfully moved on from strictly doing our happy hours online, the beauty of participating in a virtual Texas Fine Wine Talk & Taste event is manifold. Each of these themed virtual happy hours has a focus, each of the four wineries (Bending Branch, Duchman, Pedernales Cellars, and Spicewood Vineyards) participates, certified wine expert Denise Clarke hosts, and other wine lovers are also online. These are a great, laid back way to enjoy a little wine chat, even in your bunny slippers. Texas Fine Wine announces the theme and the wines they will specifically discuss during each Talk & Taste. You can feel free to pour your own glass of Texas wine and listen in.
The next Talk and Taste is on Tuesday, October 10 at 6 p.m. on Zoom and will feature some fall wines, including a sparkling Picpoul Blanc from Bending Branch and three red blends to pair with our cooler temperatures, including the Duchman Family Winery GSM, Pedernales Cellars Cuvee 1853 and Spicewood Vineyards’ The Independence.
15. Support a Black-owned Texas Winery.
Winery owners, Cheramie and Todd Aho, became inspired on a Texas wine tour, and the rest, as they say, is history. Cheramie Wines, relative newcomer to the scene, starting by selling Texas wine under their company, Salt and Pepper Wine. Then they decided to try their hand at making their own wines.
While they are currently sold out of their first release of wines, they are releasing new wines this month! Look for the 2021 Cheramie Wine Montepulciano Rosé, Cheramie Wine Red Blend, and Cheramie White on their website.
16. Remember the Alamo! Literally.
Fall Creek Vineyards honors their Texas roots with their Mission San Antonio de Valero, Alamo Cabernet Sauvignon. This is not merely a Texas-y vanity name, but an actual partnership with the organization responsible for the maintenance and upkeep at The Alamo. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle will support the Texas General Land Office’s restoration, operation, and maintenance of the Alamo.
Taste this special little sip of Texas history — also made partially with grapes grown at Oxbow Vineyard at Fall Creek Vineyards at Driftwood, which is situated on land originally owned by William B. Travis. Fall Creek Vineyards is hosting a tasting party on October 30, where they will showcase the Alamo Cabernet Sauvignon and other new releases at their Driftwood tasting room.
17. Mix it up with a wine tasting at a chef-inspired cookware store.
In celebration of Texas Wine Month, Austin Winery and Made In are coming together to give you the ultimate wine tasting at your local Made In location on South Congress! Made In makes all kinds of high-end cookware and restaurant supplies, used by such esteemed Austin chefs as Nixta’s Edgar Rico and Suerte and Este’s Chef Fermin Núñez. Every Thursday during October, their Made In SoCo location and Austin Winery are hosting informative tastings.
Happy Texas Wine Month! Cheers!