The first annual Wimberley Wine Walk was a huge success to a sellout crowd of 600 wine enthusiasts. The 12 participating wineries were spread throughout the cozy Wimberley downtown community. According to Jolene Conway, committee chair of the WWW, the placement of the winery booths was designed to provide participants with an experience of the unique Wimberley charm and all this Hill Country jewel has to offer. The Wine Walk was also planned around the first Saturday of the month ‘Market Days’ event, the 2nd largest flea market in Texas.
Several participants we spoke with appreciated the opportunity to peruse shops in between sips of an incredible variety of wines. And merchants benefitted from the sensational turnout on a Thursday evening. Melissa, the owner of Sassy Scrappers, said that she met many locals who had never been to her store in the past. We had an opportunity to meet several of the 9 helpful, fun loving volunteers. As you can see from the pictures, they were enjoying the Wine Walk as much as the attendees.
The start line for the Walk was Taste Buds, owned by David and Tammy Steen, a unique store devoted totally to Texas treasures. Besides specialty foods and interesting Texas gifts, they carry over 40 Texas Wines.
Outside Taste Buds, Matt White, GM of Lost Draw Cellars, served Arroyo Rojo, a blend of Carignan, Mourvedre, Grenache and a touch of Viognier. We found it quite delightful, especially served with a slight chill. The family owned winery is located at in Fredericksburg with 250 acres of vineyards in the Texas High Plains.
With pleasant music provided by Marvin Battera and Neal Ford in the background, Mike Batek, Chief Grape Stomper at Hye Meadow Winery, offered a couple wines with interesting names. Junkyard Red, a blend of 57% Tempranillo and 43% Montepulciano and award winning Junkyard White, a blend of Muscat, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. The white was a well-balanced blend and quite pleasing to the palate. Both are San Antonio Stock Show award winners.
Next to Hye Meadow, Travis Tindol owner of Hays City Store, opened last year in Driftwood, served a delightful combination of pimento cheese, chicken salad and Ahi tuna salad with a variety of crackers. Travis and his wife have a long history in the restaurant business and are excited about their relatively new venture and the opportunity to introduce their skills at the 1st WWW.
Gina Ross and Lynne Taylor were extremely knowledgeable about the wines, the gorgeous facilities on Lake Travis and the Australian origin of the winemaker at Stone House Vineyards. Owners Howard and Angela Moench have produced multiple national and international wines including a 2013 Wild Ferment Riesling, a light to medium-bodied surprisingly dry wine for a Riesling, that was served near the Wimberley Cafe.
Witty must be Gary Gilstrap’s middle name as he incorporated bits of humor in his descriptions of the wines from his Texas Hills Vineyard. He proclaimed his rich flavored Sangiovese shouts “give me pizza and pasta!” Kick Butt Cab has won People’s Choice ‘Best Cab in Texas’ 7 of the last 8 years and his Orange Muscato made me wish I had some chocolate to go with it. While not a fan of many sweet wines, this had a smooth orange zest essence and scored a must purchase.
Beside Texas Hills Vineyard in front of the Gypsy Market, sat a cute little ‘Original Eco Friendly Ice Cream Truck’ serving Texas Trail Sweet Pea Ice Cream. A perfect match for several of the local after dinner wines.
As we continued through the streets of Wimberley, we had the pleasure of meeting Suzannah Etchum, the charming and compassionate founder of Texas Women in the Round. She has created a venue for other female musicians who “have a lot to say in music”. Two of her proteges. Cameron and Elise, were playing evocative music on the porch of the Native Texas Boutique.
Next to the Boutique, we were served a rich flavored Montepulciano wine, one of the oldest and finest wines from the Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood. Winemaker Dave Reilly is proud of using 100% Texas grapes to produce the family’s 100% Texas wines. Vermentino, Sangiovese and Dolcetto wines reveal owners Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman love with the unique Italian grape varieties.
Lauren and Catrina from Singing Water Vineyards were charming, friendly and knowledgeable about the considerable varieties of wines produced at the winery in Comfort, Texas including Pinot Grigio, Sunrise-Dry Rose Blend, Merlot, Merlot/Cab Blend, Sweet Lupe-semi sweet Merlot and a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc being served at this event. The vineyard began in 1999 with a tasting room added in 2006.
Also lucky enough to be set up along beautiful Cypress Creek, Whitney McGraf passionately strummed her guitar and sang solo for wine tasters. She will be appearing at the 4th annual BBQ Battle on the Wimberley Square on April 9th.
The last wine booth on Old Kyle Road in front of Annie James belonged to Bent Oak Winery, one of the newest additions to Texas wines. The well-travelled, wine-wise and intriguing owners, John and Audrey Catalano, have been serving wine at their tasting room in Cedar Park near Austin since October of 2015. For such a new winery, we heard an exceptional number of accolades for their excellent Blanc du Bois.
Next to Bent Oak, a local Wimberley restaurant, The Leaning Pear, presented a crowd pleasing variety of Hill Country inspired cuisine including a crab fritter, fried avocado and an Italian Panini.
Gracing the front of high-end retailer, Gracious Ladies, was Becker Wineries located in Stonewall. Award winning Jolie is a happy, cheerful rose that was so delightfully dry and balanced that it demanded I purchase a bottle.
My tasting buddy noticed the map included a water station in front of The Cedar Chest where we could get a long overdue dose of hydration. The hard work of wine tasting requires an adequate supply of this live saving drink.
Dana and Christina proved to be wine smart as they joyfully informed us of the grapes and process for producing Bending Branch Winery’s famous Thinkers Blanc and Thinkers Blend wine. The boutique winery located in Comfort, Texas has planted 17 varietals since 2009.
The owners of Dry Comal Creek winery in New Braunfels, Franklin and Bonnie Houser, were pioneers in the use of the Black Spanish grape. The wine is medium bodied with a soft finish and is more acidic than most grapes making it versatile with an array of foods.
The pleasantly sweet and semi-sweet wines produced at Wimberley Valley Winery cannot be purchased anywhere but at their facility in Driftwood. Loyal employees Kate and Christina, provided history and stories of the 33 year old institution along with valuable information about the grape varieties.
As the sun began to set, we had the privilege to meet David Bober, the charming and passionate co-owner of Jobell Cafe and Bistro (with wife Jess) located on Ranch Road 12 North of Wimberley’s center. My vegetarian partner enjoyed a creamy spinach and artichoke dip while I devoured candied bacon on a stick covered in chocolate – each created by chef Mike. I look forward to a warm welcome when visiting this unique Bistro.
The 1st Annual Wimberley Wine Walk was thoroughly enjoyable and appeared to be a complete success. The mixture of food and wine with the ability to walk off some of the calories while visiting shops gave everyone the opportunity to experience and appreciate the uniqueness of this quaint little town. I look forward to attending the 2nd Annual Festival that will likely draw a much larger crowd along with more wineries and restaurants represented.