During our Texas Wine Experts tour from San Antonio, you will gain first-hand wine industry know-how from Texas’ finest, award-winning winemakers, vineyard owners/managers and general managers at their vineyards (weather permitting), wineries and tasting rooms. They will share their expertise with you in some or all of the following topics:
Vineyard Management and/or Ownership
- Winning the battles and war over bugs, birds, disease and the weather
- The keys to farming profitably and responsibly
- The pros and cons of doing the farming oneself versus contracting the work
- The ins and outs of governmental regulation
- The advantages and disadvantages of selling fruit to wineries versus making wine with one’s own fruit
- How to go about buying a vineyard
- The elements of harvest and crush
- The remarkable fermentation process
- The critical importance of lab testing
- Bottling and labeling
- Retail sales and distribution
- The ins and outs of governmental regulation
- How to build relationships with other growers, buyers and distributors
- How to get into the wine making business
- And of course, how to taste some wine!
Travel time to the Texas Hill Country from San Antonio is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. Once you reach the Texas Hill Country, you'll visit three wineries' tasting rooms and meet with their respective winemakers, vineyard owners/managers or general managers:
TEXAS HILLS VINEYARD
On a quiet road near Pedernales Falls State Park, you will find a popular winery and one of the top ten wine producers in Texas – Texas Hills Vineyard. Their grapes, including Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Orange Moscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah, are grown in a sustainable, organic fashion in concert with the Texas sun by day and cooler Hill Country nights. The grapes yield intense flavors that produce award-winning wines with an Italian influence. Texas Hills makes a lot of award-winning wines, but with whimsical names like Toro de Tejas and Kick-Butt-Cab, Texas Hills Vineyard shows it has a sense of humor as well.
Both pharmacists, Gary and Kathy Gilstrap are the co-owners of Texas Hills Vineyard. Led by his passion for fine wine, Gary honed his chemistry and pharmaceutical skills to become Texas Hills Vineyard’s winemaker. Gary and/or Kathy will take you through the winemaking process in their unique, environmentally friendly winery built with earth (“Rammed Earth”) from their property. Kathy manages the winery’s intimate tasting room, also built from the earth and described as their “cave above the ground.” She will share with you an educated tasting of their wines enhancing your experience by explaining the elements of each wine and how to evaluate a wine.
WILLIAM CHRIS VINEYARDS
William Chris Vineyards focuses on eco-friendly, Texas-grown; premium wines…and boasts the most beautiful oak grove in Texas, dating back to the 1800’s. Bill Blackmon and Chris Brundrett, co-owners and co-winemakers, founded William Chris Vineyards in 2009. They saw the potential in the land and the 100-year-old house on the property. They planted their main vineyard, turned the house into a charming, rustic tasting room and built production and storage facilities. Their business partnership began some years before that, however, owning and operating a vineyard management company that oversees more than 40 acres in the Texas Hill Country and High Plains.
Today, William Chris is known for its exceptional Bordeaux-style reds and its commitment to only using fruit grown in their vineyards, in vineyards they manage and from vineyards with similar commitments to winegrowing. Join Bill and/or Chris for a tour of the property and facilities as they demonstrate and describe their personal style of winemaking using small-batch fermentation and “Old World”, by-hand techniques. Bill and Chris strive to capture each source vineyard’s terroir, believing it is important to know not only where their grapes come from, but also what goes into their wine. Follow the process from the vine to the tasting room where you will enjoy wines served by the hands that made them.
4.0 Cellars began as a collaboration inspired by three great Texas wineries - McPherson Cellars, Brennan Vineyards and Lost Oak Winery - that came together to form this matchless fourth winery. 4.0 Cellars provides you the opportunity to be one of the first to experience new varieties, blends and releases from these three wineries.
4.0 Cellars is located in the beautiful hill country of Fredericksburg, Texas, and offers the ultimate Texas wine experience in an ideal and comfortable setting where you will learn about wine and taste a variety of wines from single varietals to diverse blends. Its new state-of-the-art facility offers a combination of modern architectural design with a touch of the “Old Hill Country” ambiance.
McPherson Cellars in Lubbock is owned by Kim and Sylvia McPherson who are descendants of a pioneering Texas family that has be growing grapes and making wine for more than 40 years. Kim, the winemaker, believes in "planting to the land" so his focus is on Rhone, Italian and Spanish varietals.
Brennan Vineyards in Comanche is owned by Pat and Trellis Brennan with Todd Webster as their winemaker. Its two main vineyards produce a diverse selection of varietals that thrive in the Lone Star climate, classics like Cabernet and Syrah and rising stars like Viognier and Nero d'Avola.
Lost Oak Winery, located just south of Fort Worth in Burleson, is family-owned by Gene and Judy Estes. Jim Evans is the winemaker and has been making wine in Texas for more than 30 years. Lost Oak Winery offers a wide selection of both red and white and dry and sweet wines ranging from Riesling to Tempranillo to Moscato.