Continuing the saga of wineries and tasting rooms in the Texas Hill Country AVA, particularly around Fredericksburg and Hwy 290, the Texas Wine Trail:
Some of the wines these wineries make are available at your grocery store. Others will require you to buy online or at the tasting room. I hope all reports give you insight into the ascendant Texas wine scene.
• Fredericksburg Winery: The Texas Hill Country delivers welcoming tasting rooms, thigh-slapping fun, outrageous characters. Cord Switzer is an outrageous character who owns a small, iconoclastic winery in the heart of Fredericksburg. Frolicking behind the serving bar, he generates non-stop banter. Signature line: “If you don’t like the wine, pour it in that bucket over there. We ship it to California and they turn it into merlot.”
Cord proudly touts his nickname. “It is short for nothing. My real name is Spencer Alwin Switzer Jr.—try saying that after drinking wine all day.” Cord flew helicopters in Vietnam, taught at the university level for 20 years. His wife Sandy was a wine buyer for American Airlines. Cord blames her for getting him into wine. Thank her when you visit their winery/tasting room. Link to Fredericksburg Winery website
• Messina Hof: Opposite of Fredericksbug Winery, Messina Hof is a major player. Theirs is a saga of family focus and positive thinking: “anything is possible.” In 1977, Paul Vincent Bonarrigo and his wife, Merrill, planted grapes in a vineyard in Bryan, home of Texas A&M University. It took off from there.
The winery remains in Bryan. Messina Hof added a tasting room and vineyard on Hwy 290 near Fredericksburg. They have a tasting room in the historic Wallis Hotel in Grapevine, a DFW suburb. Next expansion—Richardson. Visit Messina Hof for polished, professional experience of both tasting room and wine. Link to Messina Hof website
• Lost Draw Cellars: Texas wine in a nutshell. Andy Timmons was a pioneer grape grower, follow-on to his family’s career growing High Plains cotton and peanuts. Timmons’s nephew, Andrew Sides helped in the vineyard. Sides married college sweetheart, Callie Ottmers, a bedrock Fredericksburg family, owners of Ottmer Oil. When the oil business closed, the family located a winery and tasting room at the location. The tasting room and winery is sandwiched between a Shell station and a Chevron products depot, across from the backside of the HEB grocery store. Texans will understand this triangulation. Wear any clothing you wish on your visit. Enjoy the wine and the winemakers. Link to Lost Draw Cellars website
Last round: All you need is love … and a bottle, maybe two, of Texas wine.